Zambezi VTC expands

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Zambezi VTC expands

KATIMA MULILO – Students can look forward to taking up new occupational areas, as the Zambezi Vocational Training Centre is set to offer a wider range of qualifications.

This signifies the recent emphasis of higher education minister, Itah Kandjii-Murangi, that there is a need for higher education institutions to offer priority courses beyond level three to produce artisans to drive green energy development in Namibia.

“There is a need for the availability of TVET graduates. A good, significant number of trades – we don’t offer them. It’s imperative that we start offering them and not end up at level three, but end up at level five or six. We need to position ourselves to introduce programmes aligned to new emerging industries without interfering in the already-existing priority fields,” she urged.

She said technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is imperative for Namibia’s industrialisation and overall development, which heavily relies on the development of a skilled workforce to drive innovation and contribute to economic diversification.

Equally, TVET is crucial, for it equips individuals with skillsets that enable them to cope in a rapidly evolving world.

In an interview with the ZVTC liaison officer, Mungu Mutimani assured that those new occupational areas, namely automotive mechanic level one to level four, as well as air conditioning and refrigeration level one to level four, will be offered as of the second semester of 2024.

He said ZVTC currently has nine occupational areas accredited with the Namibia Qualifications Authority

Quizzed about whether ZVTC is offering courses aimed at green energy as Namibia moves in the direction of green hydrogen production, as well as oil and gas extraction, Mutimani was quick to say, “All of the trades offered have a role in green hydrogen”. 

These include agriculture in VET (vocational education and training) – farm equipment and infrastructure levels two to four; agriculture in VET – horticulture and crop production levels two to four, as well as bricklaying and plastering levels one to four.

Other offered trades are clothing production level one to level three; hospitality and tourism level two to level four; joinery and cabinet making level one to level four; office administration level one to level four; plumbing and pipe-fitting level one to level four, as well as welding and metal fabrication level one to level four.

Mutimani said new occupational areas to be offered as of the first semester of 2025 include electrical general level one to level four and culinary arts level two to level four.

Since Zambezi borders four neighbouring countries, he mentioned that the centre intends to be a hospitality training hub for these adjacent nations. 

Asked how ZVTC has come of age in terms of institutional expansion since its formation in 1993, Mutimani said the institute was officially opened with only three occupational areas, 12 staff members and 36 trainees.

“At the moment, ZVTC has nine NQA-accredited occupational areas with 79 staff members and 529 trainees,” he proudly stated.

The institution employs 31 permanent VET trainers.

Mutimani highlighted some of the success stories achieved by ZVTC in the past five years.

A training hotel, four additional occupational areas, a multi-purpose hall, trainee accommodation and a water reservoir are some of the highlights he outlined.

On the challenges faced by ZVTC, which could hamper learning and teaching, he said trainee accommodation is an issue. 

However, he indicated the centre constructed one hotel block of 80 beds through budgetary provision by the government.

“Two more hostel blocks with a total of 160 beds are still required,” he added.

In terms of community services, he said the centre saw the construction of six ablution facilities in Zambezi, as well as five others in the Khomas region.

They also constructed three classroom blocks in Khomas, as well as the renovation of the State Veterinary Clinic in the same region.

Moreover, he emphasised that vocational training is crucial, as it helps to address youth unemployment, meet industry demands, address skills shortages, provide opportunities for lifelong learning, as well as reduce inequality.

“Therefore, I would encourage all Namibians to send their kids to vocational training centres to acquire technical skills to better their lives and be entrepreneurs,” he urged.