WINDHOEK - A service level agreement signed this week between the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Social Security Commission (SSC) will facilitate skills training in gemology, jewellery design and entrepreneurship for the country’s unemployed youth. The agreement, for which N$2 million has been reserved by SSC, was signed on Tuesday by Dr Tjama Tjivikua, NUST vice-chancellor (pro tem), and SSC chief executive officer, Milka Mungunda.
The training under the agreement will target 30 unemployed youth from marginalised communities in Keetmanshoop and will be conducted in the southern town for a duration of one year. The aim of this training programme is to empower unemployed youth with the necessary skills to either start their own businesses or seek employment in the gemstone sector.
“The importance of skills provisioning for the youth and value addition to our mineral resources is critical in the total picture of economic development. That’s why NUST recognises the vital role that this kind of engagement plays in Namibia’s industrialisation agenda and economic development. This engagement adds value to the diversification and growth of the economy in order to contribute to structural transformation and employment creation, and to be a player in the global economy,” said Tjivikua at the signing ceremony.
Tjivikua noted that NUST already has a track record of similar engagements as about four years ago it partnered with the Overseas Development Cooperation (ODC) and its international partners in Finland and in Sweden to train 30 youths in gemology, jewellery-making and entrepreneurship in Keetmanshoop. To date some of these youths are employed in the gemstone sector while two of them are now engaged in a full-fledged business of producing jewellery with financial support from ODC and business development support from CED.
Commenting on the partnership between the two institutions, SSC’s Mungunda said it is no longer news that the country is facing severe challenges of poverty and unemployment as is evident by the high unemployment rate of 34 percent.
“Our government has been striving tirelessly to attain the NDP (National Development Plan) goals of inclusive, equitable and sustainable economic growth. They surely cannot succeed in this endeavour without the collective support of the SOE sector. It is against this backdrop, premised on mutual understanding, that this SSC and NUST collaboration bears testimony of our joint efforts, henceforth, to address the challenges of unemployment in Namibia,” said Mungunda.
She noted that the agreement signed this week results from an application by NUST as a training provider of the commission’s Register of Registered Training Providers, which was approved under the SSC Fund Regulations (2010).
Mungunda confirmed that under this agreement, NUST will be responsible for the implementation of the training scheme, focussing on skills training in gemology and jewellery design and entrepreneurship for unemployed youth in Keetmanshoop.
“I’m pleased to announce that an amount of N$2 million has been reserved for this project. This amount will be administered by NUST, solely and exclusively as per stipulations of this agreement … I’m sure you will agree with me that the town of Keetmanshoop is about to experience a true measure of radical social change as the lives of 30 unemployed residents in Keetmanshoop are about to be changed irrevocably,” Mungunda