- Luqeretzia Kooper
The Namibia Training Authority (NTA)'s chief executive officer, Jerry Beukes, has appealed to businesses in the Zambezi region, especially those in the tourism and hospitality industries, to become the authority's job attachment partners.
Beukes made this appeal on Tuesday during the inauguration of the Zambezi Vocational Training Centre's guesthouse at Katima Mulilo. “There is not enough job attachment opportunities available in the local training market for our trainees,” he said, adding that job attachments play a very important role in the lives of trainees. “The job attachment opportunities make up an integral part of vocational training centres, as trainees are required at specific intervals of their training programmes to gain practical work experience at relevant industry employers.
“Such opportunities are of extreme importance as they substantially increase the chances of graduates finding employment because for an employer, a candidate who has spent time working in a particular industry shows dedication and enthusiasm for a particular job. Most importantly, job attachments boost self-confidence, entrepreneurship and create positive attitudes,” he said. He noted that the support of the relevant industry stakeholders will prove that what they are doing at the vocational centres is producing productive members of society.
“Indeed, the real test in our country's vocational education and training sector is the employability of our graduates. Therefore, our plea to employers is to become meaningful partners in our quest to deliver graduates of a high quality and high calibre, whose skills will allow them to add value to any employer, or to start their own businesses,” he added. According to Beukes, there are still several challenges which they encounter when it comes to the placement of trainees for job attachments.
“Many companies take in trainees, but fail to deliver in terms of expectations as far as on-the-jobtraining evaluations and reporting are concerned. Others continue to view our vocational training centres as being substandard institutions, despite such centres conforming to stringent national quality assurance requirements. It is also true that some employers are reluctant to take in trainees because of expectations that the trainees have to be paid allowances,” he continued.
Beukes emphasised that vocational training contributes to the country's development.
“Our country recognises the potential of vocational training in bringing about economic growth and development as articulated under the social progression pillar in the Harambee Prosperity Plan. It has, therefore, entrusted the NTA with the responsibility to improve the quality and quantity of vocational training to meet the skills challenges of today and tomorrow.
“Despite what the critics might say, we are making steady and solid progress. We anticipate significant growth in the creation of more accessible and equitable training opportunities countrywide within the short-to-medium term,” he said.
The Zambezi Vocational Training Centre's manager Richard Kambinda said it enabled them to provide the much-needed practical training.
“As a training institution, we have an obligation to provide practical hands-on training to our trainees. It is for this reason that we will provide a service to the public, but at the same time give our trainees an opportunity to gain theoretical and practical experience right here at the institution.”
- The Namibian