2023 National Skills Competition underway
The event is aimed at changing the lives of young people through skills, under the auspices of World Skills International.
Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, in a speech read on her behalf by deputy minister of higher education and innovation, Natalia /Goagoses, said with recent sizeable oil discoveries, Namibia is fast emerging as one of the world’s final frontiers for oil exploration.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the country’s vast natural resources are estimated at 11 billion barrels of oil and 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.
She said the country’s economy is in transition.
“Our technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system must prepare and align better for the challenges ahead. Part of the solution is to attract talented, young Namibians to the TVET sector and ensure that we transform them into competitive and competent workers with the right mix of talent, creativity, skills and attitudes,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
She said TVET can be an excellent choice for individuals who are looking for a more direct path to a fulfilling and lucrative career. TVET, Nandi-Ndaitwah added, can also be a powerful tool for supporting economic growth and development, both at the individual and community level.
Stereotypes and stigma, she said, continue to isolate technical and vocational career options, and children continue to be influenced by the idea that such careers are low-status jobs, which generally offer little prospects for career advancement and growth.
“Gender parity is another aspect of this challenge, as it is still commonplace for Namibian girl children to be discouraged from taking up technical career paths because these are seen as exclusive for their male counterparts. These stereotypes are reinforced by a cross-cutting cultural notion that the technical sector is not for women,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Namibia Training Authority chairperson Jerome Mutumba said a total of 157 competitors are competing in 14 skill areas, aspiring to the prestigious title of Namibian champion.
Mutumba said outside of the competition, WorldSkills Namibia fosters cooperation and development between industry and training institutions, whereas it also promotes the benefits of and need for skilled professionals through knowledge exchange, capacity building, and infusing international quality into our local technical and vocational qualifications.
He said the winners of the national skills competition, which is underway, are using the event to prepare for WorldSkills Lyon 2024, which will take place in France in September.
More than 30 local and continental training institutions and industry exhibitors are participating, and more than 300 delegates are expected to deliberate on the theme of youth development and empowerment and how best to generate opportunities to bridge the unemployment gap.