Botswana: Skills Development Government Priority

Thamaga — Government has prioritised skills development in the national development agenda in order to improve the country's human capital.

This was said by Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development Mr Tshenolo Mabeo at the launch of the Thamaga Satellite Rapid Training Development Centre on October 8.

He said government had long committed to ensuring access to education and skills development under Vision 2036's human resource development pillar.

Mr Mabeo said through Construction Industry Trust Fund (CITF), Madirelo Trade and Testing Centre (MTTC) and brigades, his ministry was mandated to facilitate employment creation through vocational skills development.

He cited the establishment of rapid skills development centres as one of the greatest achievements.

So far centres had been established at Tsau, Chadibe, Moreomaoto and Thamaga, he said adding that others would be set up at Bokspits, Ncojane, Sojwe and Phitshane Molopo.

The aim, Mr Mabeo expalined, was to increase access to vocational training opportunities and accommodate as many trainees as possible.

The minister said with unemployment currently estimated at 20 per cent, the centres were expected to increase employability by equipping citizens with technical skills to meet labour market needs and opportunities.

About the Thamaga centre, Mr Mabeo said it had enrolled 32 students, who had already started their bricklaying, plastering and painting courses.

He said the centre provided an opportunity for men, women and the youth to enhance their vocational skills with no academic certificate required.

The only requirement was the national identity card, Omang, he said.

He implored students to take their studies seriously so that they could use the knowledge to improve their livelihoods.

Mr Mabeo urged the youth to take advantage of courses offered at the different centres across the country.

The minister noted that Botswana was moving from a resource-based economy to a diversified knowledge-based one.

Giving an overview of the project, CITF board member Mr Gianni Manis said the organisation had embarked on the establishment of satellite centres across the country on the backdrop of National Development Plan 11, which has identified areas of potential high employment uptake.

The sectors include provision of services and manufacturing, to which government had made a commitment to give extensive support to enable them to make a meaningful contribution to the economy.

To achieve that, a strategy had been put in place to scale up access to technical and vocational education as well as training opportunities in order to avail the requisite skills for the labour market.

Mr Manis said by the end of the project, 15 satellite centres would be established across the country including at Shakawe, Tsau, Kazungula, Khakhea, Old Naledi, Nkange and Senyawe.

He revealed that the CITF waiting list currently stood at 15 000.

"This is a testimony to the need to scale up opportunities for training the youth of Botswana, and indeed to everybody because we welcome everybody to centres regardless of age or level of education," he said.

He said through the satellite centres, CITF was trying to stimulate local economies by empowering the population with requisite skills to meaningfully participate in the mainstream economy by either getting employed or establishing own businesses.

In his welcome remarks, Kgosi Gobuamang Gobuamang said the people of Thamaga were happy to be receipients of such a development.

He urged residents to take care of the centre to ensure it served the purpose for which it was designed.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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