THE Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund has over the past 18 months spent US$50 million on training apprentices and workers in formal employment, Zimdef chief executive Mr Frederick Mandizvidza has said.
In a speech read on his behalf by Zimdef principal director for finance and administration, Nicholas Mapute, at a Business Ethics Symposium held in Harare recently, Mr Mandizvidza said US$9 million had been used for training 3 800 apprentices countrywide.
"The fund has paid industrial attachment allowances to 5 284 polytechnic students at a total cost of US$5 million over the same period while US$140 000 was ploughed back into industry as training rebates to companies that engage in employee training and development.
"I strongly encourage companies to take advantage of these rebates and undertake re-training of their labour force as part of a national strategy towards a sustainable economic recovery and growth," Mr Mandizvidza said.
Part of the fund was also used for programmes to re-train workers in industry that had been left depleted due to brain drain at the height of the economic meltdown.
Mr Mandizvidza said Zimdef had also given US$4 million to institutions of higher and tertiary education for acquisition of state-of-the-art training equipment, consumables and other training incidentals.
This, he said, was critical if trainees were to acquire the relevant skills before graduating and joining formal employment.
"Significant investment has been committed towards education and training infrastructure with the construction of the Harare Polytechnic library, the Kwekwe Polytechnic Engineering workshop, the Hotel St Patrick's in Bulawayo, the Masvingo Students Hostels among other key projects whose overall impact is to strengthen the country's skills and human capital base," said Mr Mandizvidza.
Part of the Fund's future capacity building programmes include the development of critical infrastructure such as libraries, laboratories and workshops as well as re-equipping polytechnics and universities and the acquisition of cutting edge technology for higher education and tertiary institutions.
Mr Mandizvidza also said the Fund would be used to support standards development and research units, whose functions include job profiling, standards development, reviewing and updating curricula and developing relevant competencies per economic sector.
"It will also be used to fund manpower surveys and research, forecasting manpower needs of the country per economic sector and monitoring the impact of technological changes on manpower requirements of the economy," said Mr Mandizvidza.
Zimdef is a state enterprise established and administered in terms of the Manpower Planning and Development Act (Chapter 28:02), 1996.
Its mandated to collect, manage and disburse money collected from the one percent training levy contributed by the corporate sector to finance the development of skills and competencies relevant to industry.