The Bank of Namibia (BoN) and the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support the NTA’s apprenticeship programme, which is aimed at improving the quality of artisans emerging from the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector.
The BoN has long considered the TVET sector as an enabler of economic growth through skills development and employment creation.
The bank recently held its annual symposium which focused on the TVET sector. It brought to light a number of shortcomings that constrain the sector from realising its full potential as envisioned in the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) and the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
Stakeholders at the symposium identified the need for relevance and responsiveness of training programmes as a critical undertaking, which requires a concerted effort from policymakers, regulatory bodies, training institutions, and industry roleplayers towards equipping the next generation of artisans with the requisite skills to spearhead Namibia’s industrialisation drive.
In this vein, the BoN is delighted to be associated with the NTA’s pilot apprenticeship programme, which is a timely intervention aimed at accelerating the process of producing high-quality artisans for the industry.
The apprentices will be contracted by participating employers and assigned to experienced mentors to induct them and train them on-the-job in specific occupations.
The apprentices will gain much-needed skills through industry exposure and this will be complemented by theoretical training at identified vocational training centres for agreed periods, to guarantee a sound blend between theory and practice.
Under this sponsorship, the BoN has agreed to support the apprenticeship programme over a three-year period and cover the costs of 50 apprenticeships in highly sought-after occupations in the priority areas of agriculture, tourism and auto-mechanics.
The contribution will go towards the training and allowances of apprentices, while at the same time easing the employment cost on employers, with the aim of maximising access and exposure to industry-relevant technology and work practices.
At the signing ceremony, BoN deputy governor Ebson Uanguta said as a firm believer in the upliftment of the Namibian people, the bank is willing to play its part. “This strong commitment is demonstrated through the realignment of our corporate social investment and responsibility (CSIR) strategy to focus on the TVET sector. “Besides this collaboration with the NTA, the bank will also be providing bursaries to TVET trainers to upgrade their skills, and offer job attachments to TVET trainees at the bank.
“These modest contributions, we believe, will go a long way to assist government in its endeavour to make the TVET sector attractive to Namibian youth, and ultimately improve the quality of training,” Uanguta said.
NTA CEO Jerry Beukes underlined the importance of apprenticeships as a prerequisite for a relevant national TVET system.
“The NTA attaches significant importance to this national programme because we value the role structured TVET apprenticeships can play in developing an individual’s competencies, and in nurturing their ability to apply their skills to the tasks and demands of the workplace.
“We thank the BoN for its support, which can aptly be described as an investment in our country’s most important resource - its people,” he said.