Vocational skills training key for SDG 2030 and Agenda 2063

Development planning documents by the Malawi government namely Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 and Agenda 2063 cannot be fully implemented without vocational skills training for the youth.

Among many other initiatives needed to have a developed Malawi by the year 2030 and a further developed Malawi by 2063, the youth must acquire necessary vocational skills. This was revealed by District Youth Officer (DYO) for Mzuzu City and Mzimba North, Geoffrey Mwase.

One of the graduating students

Mwase was speaking to Nyasa Times on Friday at Saint John of God College where youths with different vulnerabilities were receiving certificates after completing different programmes which Saint John of God Hospitaller Services through the Institute of Vocational Training offers with the guidance of TEVETA.

90% of the 208 students that received their certificates are vulnerable children with different challenges like learning disabilities, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, hearing impairments, the numb and others.

The students have received training in brick laying, welding and fabrication, motorcycle repairing, horticulture, home management, tailoring and designing, carpentry and joinery as well as tiling. The courses are offered at very subsidised rates, such that parents and guardians pay very little to support training of their wards.

The students pose for a group photo

“For us to have a successful Malawi in 2030 and then in 2063, partners and all stakeholders in line with governments efforts should come together collectively and plan for programmes which target young people.

“Basically, we are talking about unemployment which can be reduced by interventions that target young people with various skills and innovations for creativity, for jobs and wealth creation for individuals as well as communities.

“As government, we thank Saint of God for these programmes that are complimenting government’s efforts in reducing vulnerability rates at household level, community level and national level,” remarked Mwase.

Chief Executive Officer for Saint John of God Hospitaller Services, Dr Charles Masulani, said the institution noted that some vulnerable youths could not have a chance to access vocational skills from mainstream technical colleges.

“Some of these youths have economical challenges such that they could not afford to pay fees in the mainstream technical colleges. We thought it was necessary for us to come in and address that challenge. A good number of the students we have trained are working in government institutions.

“Saint John of God is known as a patron for the poor. Therefore, training youths from poor backgrounds and with several challenges is in line with what Saint John of God advocated for,” explained Masulani.

Project Coordinator for the Institute of Vocational Training at Saint of God, Osward Mhango, said the institute was winning souls of youths over the years showing them the light through vocational skills as opposed to bad behaviours in their communities.

“Many of them have established themselves in their communities and are serving their communities. For example, instead of someone going to town to buy a door frame or a window frame, to have their motorcycle fixed and so on, they find these services right there in their communities rendered by the students that we train,” said Mhango.

Getrude Phiri, a tailoring and designing student speaking on behalf of all the graduating students at the function, asked different stakeholders to support the students with start-up tools.

“I wish to thank Saint John of God for these subsidised courses. Personally, I wouldn’t acquire the skills I have now if it was not for Saint John of God. I wish to ask well-wishers to support us with start-up tools so that we can get established,” she said.

Saint John of God started offering vocational training in 2003 and this was the eighteenth group of students to complete such training.

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