Vocational education the answer to youth unemployment: Mengo

Vocational education is the answer to Namibia’s challenges with high unemployment, Standard Bank’s Head of Marketing, Communications and CSI Magreth Mengo has said.

Mengo was speaking during the official launch of the 2019 National Skills Competition in Windhoek recently.

The bank during the launch also handed over N.dollars 200 000 to the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), which organises the National Skills Competition set for 03 to 06 April in the capital.

The competition allows technical institutions and individuals to test their skills proficiency against that of their peers, and serves as a platform from which to select Namibia’s competitors to represent the country at the WorldSkills International competition in Kazan, Russia in August this year.

Mengo said technical and vocational education and training (TVET) are important for promoting economic development, expanding employment size, improving the quality of employment, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“This is especially important for a country like Namibia, which continues to export its natural resources in raw form, and with a very high level of youth unemployment,” she said.

Mengo further said TVET is an important sub-component of the education system, but one that was neglected in the early years of independence and is generally shunned by both parents and students alike.

“It is important to highlight that no nation has ever developed without the backbone of a strong vocational educational system,” she said, adding that countries such as Germany, Japan, China and the United Kingdom are well-known for their vocational education and training systems.

Receiving the donation, NTA Chief Executive Officer Jerry Beukes thanked sponsors and partners for their contributions.

The 2019 National Skills Competition will feature 12 occupational skills areas, including automotive technology, bricklaying, carpentry, cooking, electrical installations, joinery and air conditioning.

The increase in competition areas from the previous 10 has resulted in an increase in competitors and experts, from 117 competitors in 2016 to 152 this year and from 70 experts to 100 experts in 2019.

In addition, 14 industry sourced workshop coordinators who will serve as technical advisors will be deployed.

“This is a completely new development and was not part of the skills competition before,” said Beukes.