WINDHOEK- The Namibia Business Innovative Institute (NBII), a subsidiary of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) have teamed up with the Embassy of Finland and Rlabs Namibia to offer free courses to Namibian youth.
“The programmes aim to empower young people by providing free training opportunities in different skills that they are eager to acquire,” said Emilia Shikwamhanda, the country coordinator for Rlabs Namibia.
These can be unemployed youth or students who couldn’t finish their studies due to financial constraints. “With these skills, they will acquire, they can either start a business or use it to create jobs,” said Shikwamhanda.
Since the initiation of the courses in 2012, Rlabs Namibia has been associated with the Namibia Business Innovation Institute.
“We have been offering these courses since 2012, the group was always small and the demand was not yet high,” she said. Some of the courses that have been offered include Social Media Marketing for business purposes.
“As the years went by, we started including other courses such as Events Management, Project Management, Leadership, Photography, and Photo Editing, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ” elaborated Shikwamhanda.
The courses are offered twice a year. “We usually have it in a form of two semesters,” she said. The criteria for joining the course are straightforward. “If you are a youth between the ages of 18 and 35 years old and unemployed, then you can take part in the courses being offered,” said Shikwamhanda.
She said the institution also offered the same courses to individuals out of the bracket highlighted above. “We also offer the same courses but to employed individuals as some companies want their employees to be trained in certain fields but for a fee,” highlighted Shikwamhanda. She highlighted that because the courses are short, they don’t have a specific framework according to any NQF level.
Shikwamhanda said in 2017, they have managed to train 570 young Namibians. “When we had the courses running in January this year, we had over 1 462 applications but we can only accommodate 30 or 40.”
Initially, the courses were offered once a day but because of the demand, with the assistance from donors, they decided to give morning and afternoon sessions with different groups to accommodate more participants for the courses. The courses are accompanied by practical assignments, as well as field projects.
“We need more donors so that we can cater and train more youths,” she said.
Rlabs Namibia has taken a further step by going to places such as Okahandja Park to look for establishments centered on the youth and presented management courses.
“We have also been working closely with the youth from Havana because they have a centre there that we have been collaborating with. The courses can be taken elsewhere, if you have a venue in Otjomuise or wherever, we can work on dates and think of a certain course that will mostly be needed there,” she stated.
The current free course being offered is Events Management and will be conducted from 23rd to 24th July 2019.
RLabs Namibia is a concept that originated in South Africa in 2008. Currently running in 22 countries in Africa, the head office is in South Africa and have replicated the programme here in Namibia,” said Shikwamhanda.