opinionBy Anthony Tambwe
IN the rapidly changing Tanzanian economy, skilled labour is in high demand but in short supply locally and largely dependent on expatriate craftsperson predominantly from the neighbouring countries.
Therefore, the need to improve the quality of skills training in Tanzania was and still is of the utmost priority. In 2007 during a state visit to Germany, President Jakaya Kikwete made a request to Hamburg for assistance to introduce Dual Training System in Tanzania.
The following year in 2008, former Zanzibar President Amani Karume also raised the issue during a state visit to Germany.
As partner cities, Hamburg and Dar es Salaam have many common projects, so consequently the Hwk Hamburg organised a number of fact finding missions to VETA in Dar es Salaam and Moshi in order to evaluate the practicalities of implementing an adapted form of a German style dual system apprenticeship training in VETA.
These missions included visits by the director of the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts (Hwk Hamburg) himself, Mr Franck Gluecklich.
In the context of Tanzanian socio-economic development strategies auto mechanics, electrical engineering (Dar es Salaam) and hospitality (Moshi) were the three key professions earmarked for urgent development.
In the present economic gloom throughout the European Union, Germany remains the exception and is seen as the powerhouse of Europe.
Unemployment among Europe's young people (15 to 24 year-olds) has soared to 50 per cent since the financial crisis of 2008, but the overall figures marks huge national and regional disparities.
While half of the young people in Spain and Greece are out of work, in Germany it is under 10 per cent even though the EU average is over 20 per cent. Much of this success can be attributed to the efficient Dual System training programme.
Around 60 per cent of all young Germans learn a trade by doing an apprenticeship through the dual system of vocational education and training.
The system covers training in over 350 professions in a wide range of skills. The dual system ensures that during training young people are employed and learn, not only a skill in the world of work, but also the ethics of work itself. This also ensures that the training remains closely adapted to the needs and demands of the industry.
The institutions and colleges complete the second phase of dual system training by ensuring that the full content of each craft is covered and the necessary amount of applied theory belonging to each profession is understood.
The employers are obliged to release the apprentices for the institutional training one or two days per week (day release), or for a number blocks ( 4-12weeks) per year (block release).
The majority of the apprentices remain employed after completion of training. The Chamber of Crafts in each region is responsible for the implementation, control and smooth running of this successful system of training.
The chance to mimic a system that works efficiently is a unique opportunity to improve the quality of training in Tanzania and to reduce the labour market dependency on foreign skilled labour.
It is on this note that Tanzania Breweries Limited signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with VETA on the Dual Apprenticeship programme and sponsored five apprentices for the same in the field of Electrical Installation.
The apprentices completed form four before joining the programme and they were picked from a list of aspirants interviewed by a TBL Panel which included the Dar es Salaam Plant Engineering Manager, Fortunatus Fundi, Goodluck Lussingu, Charles Nkondola and the TBL Group Engineer David Middleton.
The programme is dual in that the apprentices spend several weeks at VETA and later go for field work for some weeks before returning to VETA again for theoretical training and vice versa.
The programme takes three years per batch. It has three blocks per year and a total of nine blocks for the three years. The current batch started in April last year (2013) and is expected to finish their apprenticeship in 2015.
Several other companies have also sponsored young Tanzanians on Electrical Installation. Aluminum Africa has sponsored four, Power Electronics one, OTIS has four, Serengeti Breweries one and Twiga Cement and Power Electronics also have one each.
A The programme aims at bridging the gap between training and the work place situation and thus has more hands-on sort of craftsmen/ employees. A lot of young people have sound academic background in terms of knowledge but lack the appropriate skills to practice what they theoretically know.