Walter Mswazie Masvingo Bureau
More than 1 000 students graduated with certificates and diplomas at Mushagashe Vocational Training Centre last Friday. The graduates were awarded with certificates after completing empowerment studies under the auspices of the then Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment and Plan International Zimbabwe.
In his keynote address to the graduates, who included women and youths from rural communities, permanent secretary in the then Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Desire Sibanda said vocational training centres add value to the Government’s call for self-sustenance and employment creation.
Graduates were drawn from departments of cosmetology, metal fabrication, plumbing and drain laying, brick laying, motor mechanics, clothing and technology, carpentry, tourism and hospitality and electrical engineering.
“The training for the “enterprise concept” has been adopted by the vocational training centres. It emphasises on hands-on practice and theory in the ratios 80 percent practice and 20 percent theory. The Ministry’s thrust is bringing in about a product that is more practical and focused on productivity,” he said.
A total of 1066 students graduated in both long and short courses. Dr Sibanda said among the 172 national certificate graduates, 110 were males and 62 were female. In addition, 804 students — 352 males and 552 females — received certificates of competency.
“All these students have experienced on-campus training and industrial attachment, making them suitable for work in their own enterprises as well as being employed,” he said.
Dr Sibanda underscored the need for the graduates to create their own businesses rather than seek employment.
“Let me reiterate that our graduates should be employers and not employees. To the graduates, you have been armed with necessary skills to go out into the world and are expected to survive on the skills you have been equipped with. It is my sincere hope that you will fully utilise these skills,” he said.
Dr Sibanda said vocational training is in line with Government’s key mandate of youth development and entrepreneurship. Speaking at the same occasion, deputy director in the office of Masvingo’s Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Mr Lovemore Chisirimunhu said the vocational training centres add value to Zimbabwe’s development initiatives through equipping students with hands-on skills.
“We take pride on this graduation ceremony in its uniqueness and its coincidence to the national development trajectory that has characterised our nation in recent times. This path is defined by a serious call for non-state actors to adopt affirmative action to empower our productive population,” he said.
Zimbabwe development values and ethos, he said, call on everyone to be part of the development process. According to Mr Chisirimunhu, people should expend energy on addressing socio-economic challenges.
“This is a challenge and invitation to us all to join this national development-oriented mantra to work together as real patriotic Zimbabweans.
Mushagashe has grown in leaps and bounds, starting with an enrolment of less than 100 students at the turn of millennium. However, since 2015, it has been enrolling more than 1000 students.