According to National Youth Service (NYS) spokesperson, Johanna Kambala, young people are the backbone of any country and Namibia is not an exception. The future of the country lies in the hands of the youth and their wellbeing needs to be addressed as a matter of priority.
The NYS is tasked by the Namibian government to address the youth’s plight through training programmes like civic training, voluntary and skills training /vocational education training (VET), free of charge. Vocational training is thought by many to be for people who did not qualify to study at college or university and thus need skills in a particular field to gain employment, states Kambala. She says this bias against VET education is dysfunctional and destructive towards economic growth. “Thus as a nation, we need to change this misconception of VET and rather encourage our youth to take up training in VET for economic advancement as well as to avoid imbalance in the labour market.” This is needed as the country’s unemployment rate is at 34 percent while the unemployment rate among the youth is 43.4 percent for those in the 15 to 34 year old age bracket. This age bracket adopted by the National Statistics Agency (NSA) is the official definition of youth, as recommended by African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the purpose of international comparisons of labour statistics.
Kambala states that young people make up majority of the Namibian population and it is this segment of society that will determine the future success of the country. “Young people are also faced with many challenges such as unemployment that sometimes lead to alcohol and drug abuse , as well as lack of skills. Hence the government of Namibia established youth institutions such as NYS to address the plight and challenges faced by the Namibian youth,” states Kambala.
Since NYS inception, Kambala says they were able to recruit 5 206 young people in their training programmes. And a total of 899 of these youth exited the programme through graduation. “It is worthy to note that the NYS was instrumental in facilitating employment opportunities for part and full time for 2 303 for its trainees since its inception. NYS is proud to contribute to the growth of the Namibia labour market by producing artisans through its skills training programmes,”Kambala notes.
These programmes are aimed at equipping the youth with relevant knowledge and skills and enabling them to be absorbed in the job market or be self-employed. In the last phase of the NYS training programme, young people are given an opportunity to further their studies in one the following trades at the NYS Rietfontein training centre, namely automotive engineering, general construction, agriculture, hospitality and tourism, business services, clothing and design, metal fabrication, joinery and cabinet making, plumbing, information communication technology and hair dressing and cosmetology.
Kambala strongly believes in equal representation when it comes to gender. Hence their services recruits equal numbers of male and female trainees from all fourteen (14) regions during its recruitment process.
She adds that the NYS encourages female trainees to take up vocation trades that were labelled to be jobs
of men such as auto-mechanic, construction, metal fabrication and plumbing and pipefitting.