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National Youth Skills Empowerment Programme flagged off
February 26, 2022 at 20:6

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President Hakainde Hichilema has flagged off the financing of national wide skills training programmes under the National Youth Skills Empowerment Programme.

The national skills training programme will be implemented in 100 constituencies by 81 training institutions registered with TEVETA. The programme will benefit more than 7,100 youths in at least in 37 various skills areas.  About K21.2 million will be invested in the skills empowerment programme in the first circle of funding. The second circle of training programme will be in August/September this year. This programme follows the launched skills empowerment programme in Chongwe Constituency in December last year.

The President stated that Government was providing an enabling environment that created opportunities for employment and self-employment for youths who constitute the large population.

"Government was committed and tackling youth unemployment by equipping youths with relevant skills across the trades institutes in the country. We are providing an enabling environment that created opportunities for employment and self-employment for youths who constitute the large population. This shows Government commitment and tackling youth unemployment by equipping youths with relevant skills across the trades training institutes in the country. I urge citizens across the country to take part in skills empowerment programmes. Hands-on skills are driving the future towards sustained job creation. Government is shifting empowerments from handouts to skills, financial provision and business support services. Skills are essential in helping youths establish their lives. Inclusive skills training are here.”

He added that “beyond equipping youths with skills, value addition is primary to the government development agenda. We have remained poor because we are not value to our raw materials. Our youths are determinants of sustained economic development. We need to skills them appropriately. The second phase of the Youth Skills Empowerment Programme will commence in July/August this year. Skills training will be taken to every constituency for youths to effectively implement constituency projects and reinvest the money within the constituencies.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise, Elias Mubanga encouraged youths to utilise skills empowerment programmes across the country for them to benefit from the empowerment financing government is disbursing through the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission.

“Skills are important for empowerment. More than K300m has been allocated towards citizen empowerment in different sectors of the economy. We are using skills as the prerequisite for accessing empowerment funds. In the past, funds were provided to individuals who did not have relevant competencies, which affected empowerment outcomes.”

Mr. Mubanga said skills development and mindset change were one of the strategic approaches Government was using to re-engineer citizen empowerment. “We want persons with practical skills and enterprising mind to create jobs and wealth in their communities.”

And Ministry of Information and Media, Chushi Kasanda added that “the increase in Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to K25.6m is enhancing youth empowerment and increasing participation of citizens in economic activities across sectors of the economy.

She noted that increased economic activities in constituencies were pivotal to inclusive national development. “The Youth Skills Empowerment Programme is building foundations for the youth to take lead in national development. We invite you to get practical skills and be part of the journey to sustained wealth and job creations both in rural and urban areas.”

Minister of Youth, Sport and Art, Elvis Nkandu said “youth initiatives through national dialogue in youth empowerment will harness youth growth, sustained job and wealth creation. Skills programmes are feeding into broad based sectors of the economy.” Mr. Nkandu said youth resource centres were providing both skills and youth connect hubs to enhance ideas, innovation, networking and linkages.

“Skills development is one of youth empowerment programmes supported with financing and business development services to support enterprise development. Startup toolkits are added to skilled youths. Instead of giving funds, some youths will get working tools and working capital for running enterprise effectively. Youths should utilise these opportunities for the betterment of their welfare.”

Reuben Mutolo, Minister of Agriculture said programmes that fed into agriculture were strategic requisites for improving the output of the agriculture sector. He stated that the youth skills empowerment programme were meeting skills needs of each constituency would empower youths to access funds for financing their economic activities.

“Empowerment programmes implemented by different institutions are key in value addition and manufacturing. Value addition is important to the country. Our raw materials need skilled persons to add value to them and get more benefits for the sectors of the economy.” Mr. Mutolo contended that TEVET was providing many opportunities for each youth who needed a skill to effectively participate in the economy. “Without skills, empowerment programmes face many hitches. We have changed the approach to get more benefits from empowerment programmes across ministries.”

The youth empowerment programme is in support of the actualisation of the 2022 budget and beyond through TEVET sector facilitated empowerment of citizens with hands-on and entrepreneurial skills for productivity and competitiveness. The priority skills in the programme include agriculture, aquaculture, construction, manufacturing, energy, tourism, and service industry. The strategic priority skills that would increase skilled persons’ participation in the economy identified in the model are agriculture, aquaculture, construction, manufacturing, service, energy and tourism. Specific skills should be enhanced in these sectors for wealth creation or income generation, value addition as well as sustainable job/employment creation. Prioritising specific skills ensures sustenance of jobs and wealth creation and competitiveness of skilled citizens in producing quality goods and services.