Obert Chifamba Manicaland Bureau
Vocational Training Centres (VCTs) must equip graduates with entrepreneurial skills that not only transform their lives and those of communities around them, but also help them champion employment creation through participating in both the formal and informal sectors, Government has urged. Deputy Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Cde Mathias Tongofa said VCTs should give prominence to entrepreneurship, hence the adoption of the concept of Training for Enterprise Development in all institutions.
Cde Tongofa made the remarks when he addressed guests at the 20th annual graduation ceremony at Magamba Training Centre, just outside Mutare, on Friday. One hundred and ninety-four students, who had undergone a two-year technical vocational education and skills training programme, graduated at the event. Various Government departments and ministries, college heads and principals, lecturers, students and parents attended the graduation. Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Cde Mandi Chimene was represented by the director in her office, Cde Kennedy Mugarisanwa.
“Communities should benefit from activities conducted by the ministry’s centres of learning through value addition, beneficiation, infrastructure development, support with agribusiness management and contribution to food security and nutrition,” said Mr Tongofa.
“The ministry is transforming VCTs into hubs of skills development and centres of excellence in the communities they are located. To this end, the ministry intends to increase the number of VCTs so that training is carried out at community level. The initial plan is to have a VCT in each district and thereafter establish satellite stations in every ward,” he said. Deputy Minister Tongofa said investment in youth will help harness the youth demographic dividend, hence the need to embrace private public partnerships (PPPs) as espoused in the theme of the graduation: “Embracing Public Private Partnerships Through Infrastructure Development for Youth Transfor- mation”.
“VCTs cannot do it alone. They need support from both private and public sectors. Indigenisation implementation plans agreed to by the ministry and qualifying businesses should bring about change in institutional development plans. The support programme that we are witnessing here today is targeting infrastructural development, general capacity building in terms of student fees support, retooling and modernisation of training equipment at the institution,” commented Cde Tongofa. He commended British American Tobacco Zimbabwe (BAT) for partnering the college in various platforms, saying such partnerships were the vehicles of national economic empowerment at grassroots levels. Their activities, he said, were in line with the President’s 10-Point Plan.