Vocational Training: The foundation for SMEs

 

By V. Manjonjo.

If skill is not harnessed and developed in time it becomes obsolete. Many of the talented young people are misplaced and they lack orientation on time. Pure knowledge towards personal development reaches them at a point beyond utilisation. Criticism of particular initiatives is good, but only if it doesn’t derail personal progress. Its witchcraft not to disseminate knowledge fairly. I’m taking this platform to communicate objectively on how the youths can invest in their talents to be anchors of the economy tomorrow.

Take a chance to ask what they want to be when they grow up and be prepared for outrageous responses, (accountant, doctor, manager etc.) Not to disqualify such dreams but take note, is it really true that a powerful economy is built on such imaginations? I put the blame on the Western model of education in which we were socked. Taught that you get educated, find a job, get a salary and earn a living. Rubbish! Our minds were/are enslaved that we can’t imagine beyond our education. We need the emancipation of the mind, an attitude which believes in black innovations. Is it really true that blacks or rather Africans have the least inventions? Western education emphasised on maintaining and preserving western inventions and properties, suffocating African pioneers.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with putting on our straps. Vocational Training Centres are platforms where local innovations are displayed. They offer room for personal growth through skill development. Most skills become stray and lose relevance because they lack entrepreneurial support. Through Vocational Training youths have their skills developed and harnessed towards building a trade market for locals. There is a wide range of programmes such as metal work, steel work, and carpentry etcetera whose products are ready for sale. The idea is these young people should start up their own small businesses where they sell their merchandise. Empowered by the indigenisation policy, this creates employment, opens up business and brings revenue. Moreover it offers home grown solutions bypassing the political route to economic growth.

What is needed in this phenomenon called SMEs is the optimum utilisation of skill to produce articles that are market worthy. Industry originates at this level, over time flourishes the local economy. Take for instance the Chinese model of development, locally the government has put in place initiatives such as the ZIM-ASSET in which they are encouraging economic emancipation through indigenous enterprises. A Vocational Training Centre is there to perfect the skill and offers marketing strategies in turn for the youths to sell their creativities while enhancing the economy.

Not everyone is academically intelligent, some are technically gifted so failing in school can’t crumble their world. VTCs are there to exhume lost talents and push people towards establishing a life through their God given gifts. There are special skills such as sculpting which are barely advanced at higher and tertiary institutions but through Vocational Training these are well promoted and can be industrialised. Partnerships can be initiated as well as establishing small markets through poultry projects and cattle rearing. It has to be realised that academic excellence is not absolute but just a means to an end. Special type skills play a pivotal role on economic and personal progression in general and in particular.

However these Vocational Training Centres have a mandate to provide relevant skill to their clients which can match up with current market trends. They should produce learners who can offer competitive products even on the international market. Standard products can assure them of higher profit margins both in the vicinity and abroad. Business starts at production, so the greater the quality the more viable the business. Having put that into cognisance it becomes the prime duty for the VTCs to yield competitive learners whose products are marketable.

It becomes the burden for the government to create platforms for capacity building. It should make way for youth in Agriculture by giving land to those pursuing that line of business. It should also give commercial space for industrial purposes, open up market and trade opportunities. Though preliminarily small but ultimately a well enhanced skill cannot be denied lucrative business ventures in the long run.

 

Vusa Manjonjo is the Chief Editor of the Zimbabwean Leadership Magazine. He can be contacted at vuvunjonjo@gmail.com or Vusa Manjonjo (Facebook)

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