Skills audit spreads to provinces

Blessings Chidakwa

Herald Reporter

Government’s skills audit programme has cascaded down to provinces with Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and North provinces having been smoothly completed.

In all Matabeleland provinces, the audit revealed many competitive advantages including tourism, textile industries, leather and meat industry, while gaps were mainly in skills flight in academia as well as economic and spatial planning.

Skills, Audit and Development Minister Paul Mavima yesterday said the Government was consulting its own departments, agencies and their associated parastatals, the private sector, the national employment councils, religious sectors and those living with disabilities.

The first phase of the national skills audit is already complete awaiting to be tabled before the President.

Minister Mavima said the Government has also made progress by securing new offices in Harare opposite Ambassador Hotel.

As for the skills audit, Professor Mavima said it is meant to determine skills and identify gaps in the country as the Second Republic intensifies its effort to cover skills gaps.

“We have started provincial consultations. We have gone to Matabeleland, all the three provinces we have visited. That is the Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South.

“This week we are doing Mashonaland Central and West provinces, which means by the end of this week,  we will have done five provinces. We will do the rest in the next two to three weeks,” he said.

Minister Mavima said they are bringing almost all the stakeholders to the consultative meeting including academia, polytechnics, different trading qualities, the private sector, the civil society organisations, all the ministries at the provincial level.

He said the ones that they did in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South were really good in terms of giving them information on all the skills needed of the various stakeholders.

Minister Mavima said in some instances there were really mixed results.

“There are some very good developments that have taken place in our universities since the 2018 audit. Some departments have been enhanced, and new programmes have been introduced.

“But there are also some aspects that still need attention. One of those is departments that are crying about facilities and infrastructure for them to do well in terms of really imparting the skills.”

Minister Mavima said one of the challenges in Matabeleland regions relates to skills flight, lectures and professors leaving and in some situations the situation is quite dire.

“We have started to gather that information to use it obviously for purposes of informing the Cabinet, of informing His Excellency the President and informing the relevant ministries as to what might need to happen in order to improve the situation there.”

He said one of the interesting things was a clear understanding of the competitive advantages of each of the provinces.

In Bulawayo, an engagement with the Office of the Permanent Secretary and also the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and the Devolution gave them clear information regarding their competitive advantages in the industrial sector, the existence of a lot of factories that could still be revived.

Minister Mavima said they were indicating the areas of textile, leather, the meat industry, for example, all those potential areas where work could be done if skills are available.

As for Matabeleland North, Minister Mavima said they mainly indicated issues related to tourism, to the core value chain, and to timber, especially the hardwoods.

“Another thing, at the Government level, issues related to spatial planning came out very clearly that there is a need for spatial planning and economic planning at the provincial level.

“They said they lack skills there and they would like to have those skills boosted so that they are able to understand,” he said.

The Skills Audit and Development Ministry is central to the achievements and aspirations that Zimbabwe has in terms of Vision 2030, to become an upper-middle-class  society.

The ministry is responsible for two major basic things, among them skills audit which is about determining what skills this country has at the same time identifying where there are gaps in terms of achieving the aspirations of the Government.

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