By Steven Godfrey Mkweteza
Minister of labour, youth, sports and manpower development Francis Katsaira on Friday challenged the youth in the country to create their own jobs instead of heaping hopes that government will create employment for them once finished tertially education.
The minister challenged the youth when he presided over the 20th DAPP Mikolongwe vocational schools celebration ceremony in chiradzulu district.
Katsaila, who said government was concerned with the growing numbers of youth unemployment in the country, however, said the unemployment gap could be narrowed if the youth create their own jobs and become self-reliant.
“Government understands that there is job scarcity in the country mostly on the youth. Therefore, the youth need to develop a culture of engaging in vocational and entreprenuralship skill programs. This is because government alone cannot manage to create jobs for the growing numbers of youth who look for jobs everyday,” Katsaila said.
Katsaira also commended DAPP for partnering with government in promoting skills training, a development which he said complimented government vision of turning the from a predominantly importing and consuming to producing and exporting.
“As government, we appreciate this initiative and we will in a long run stop importing things such as police and army uniforms from other countries because we have locally available skills that can be able to tailor them. This will also go along the way in reserving our forex and changing the lives of the youth and their families,” he said.
The minister also disclosed that government will next year bankroll a 9 million US dollars program to enhance youth skills in the mining, agriculture and ICT among others.
Speaking at the same event, the board chairman for Teveta Gilbert Chilinde said his institution was concerned wit the growing numbers of graduates who he said flock to other countries such as South Africa for greener pastures.
“He said government and other private sectors needed to create incentives that would woo the youth to ply their skills within the country for economic development.
“While we are trying our best to instill the spirit of self- confidence for the youth to create their own jobs through vocation skills and entrepreneurial ships, a lot of youth who graduated from the colleges are still trekking to south Africa to practice their skills there. They do this because working conditions are not impressive in the country,” Chilinde said
Chilinde also urged industry players to come up with areas that youth should be trained on so as to reduce cases of skills gaps.
Country director for DAPP Lisbeth Thomsen said since the school stated its youth empowerment programs in the country, it has managed to enhance vocational knowledge and entrepreneurial ship skills to over 8000 youth across the country.
The ceremony which fell under the theme ‘skills and knowledge for youth, key to social and economic development ‘ also saw a total of 11 students being awarded with K25,000 each from Cmos electronics for their outstanding performance in theory and practical’s.
DAPP Mikolongwe vocational school started 1997. The school offers courses such as Bricklaying, plumbing, tailoring, community development, cobra and shoe making andfinanncial accounting amongothers.