5 December 2012

Tanzania: Enhancing Employability Through Vocational Training

LATE last month, the Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, launched a special project that could have a significant and positive impact on the country's vocational training endeavour and provide a major boost in the efforts to create employment.

To be managed by the Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) in Mtwara Region, the project aims at enhancing employability through vocational training in the region. It will be implemented by VETA Mtwara, which will deliver vocational training, British Gas Tanzania, which will provide technical and financial support and Volunteer Services Organisation, which will provide technical and capacity building support.

The expected outcomes of the project among other include the raising of standards for craftsmanship skills in line with internationally recognized levels in eight key areas namely Food Preparation, Plumbing, Welding, Carpentry, Motor Vehicle Mechanics, Electrical installation and Maintenance, Laboratory Assistant and English.

VETA Mtwara thus becomes a centre of excellence for providing vocational training in disciplines relevant to the oil and gas industry and other related services. Graduates will be employed by oil and gas companies and related industries after completion of their training.

Announcing the major gas discoveries in the country in July, President Jakaya Kikwete said a great deal of work remained to be done to boost the capacity of the government and the people to make the most of the natural resource, including training of personnel. According to the president, the government is working on how to ensure that Tanzanians can take part meaningfully in the gas trade.

"We need to have patriotic experts who will be able to deal with these big oil companies because we will need to know if what they will be giving us is what we will deserve," said the president. The population in Mtwara and other regions of the country stand to benefit in terms of increased employability and jobs and therefore raise household income.

VETA is optimistic that experience from the project will be replicated to other regions via its VETA network and shared internationally. VETA Director General Engineer Zebadiah Moshi believes that in the long run, the authority's accredited trainers will cascade their skills and training to in-coming VETA staff, resulting in VETA Mtwara being the centre of excellence for the oil and gas industry.

He has dedicated VETA Mtwara and Lindi as centres of excellence for oil and gas At the function, the Director of Vocational Education and Training, Ms Leah Lukindo, said the project's outcome will benefit both trainees and vocational teachers. The teachers will receive capacity building in their technical field and teaching methodology.

Under the programme, 24 vocational teachers will receive English training to a Level 2 International Certification (The training was conducted by British Council in July 2012) while seven VETA teachers from the selected trades will graduate with a degree qualification (two years). Furthermore, 280 VETA students will graduate with internationally accepted certificates in their respective trades (1-2 years depending on the course).

More than 50 per cent of them will find a job after graduation in the oil and gas industry and related services. Five administration staff from VETA Mtwara will receive capacity building in administrative and project management skills. Ms Lukindo says in building the capacity of teachers in teaching methodology and in their technical field, experienced volunteer vocational tutors recruited by VSO will shadow VETA teachers who will continue to teach students while simultaneously being coached on a one-on-one basis to qualify as UK University accredited and certified tutors.

This capacity building will occur in eight areas of craftsmanship (Food Preparation, Plumbing, Welding, Carpentry, Motor Vehicle Mechanics, Electrical installation and Maintenance and Laboratory Assistant and English language. After a minimum of two years, the VETA teacher trainers will travel to the UK for their graduation and to gain first-hand, practical, international standard experience of tutor training in their specialist field which will raise standards of the training programmes.

She further outlined the activities which will be undertaken by VSO as follows; advise on the curriculum content, Facilitate international accreditation of the programme, facilitate licensing and coding of teachers and graduates where needed and advise on teaching tools and equipment.

Leicester College will, provide overall guidance on the certification process (the exam, marking, grading and graduation) as set out in the EEVT Project Proposal and Certify or award degrees to at least seven trainers per training session who are funded under this project. Mr Fred Kibodya Head, Policy and Corporate Affairs said vocational education training is a global BG theme in Building a skills base in Tanzania, so Tanzanians can be active participants in the development of the industry -- a Government priority.

He said BG committed to supporting VETA Mtwara as a national centre of excellence for the oil and gas industry, British Gas Tanzania pledge to provide $1m for the project for a period of three years beginning 2012. In his speech, the vice-president appreciated the efforts of Mr Ramanie Kunanayagam, Head, BG Group Social Performance - of British Gas of United Kingdom, Marg Mayer Chief Executive Office of Volunteer Service Organisation of United Kingdom and Prof Idrissa Mshoro VET Board Chairman of VETA for enabling the project on Enhancing Employment though Vocational Training to take place at VETA Mtwara Dr Bilal requested other companies to support vocational education and training like British Gas and VSO.

Engineer Moshi said the objective of project is to improve the employability of the local population in Mtwara Region and in Tanzania by improving training standards at VETA Mtwara, with particular focus on the needs of the oil and gas industry and related services.

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