By Bank Windhoek's Head of Corporate Affairs, Hayley Allen.
Through the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), Bank Windhoek is the proud gold sponsor of the second WorldSkills Africa event in Swakopmund. The pilot for the African competition was in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2018.
An offshoot of the WorldSkills movement, WorldSkills Africa brings together member countries that emphasise the development of an employable and sustainable skillset amongst the continent's youth.
The African Union is a stakeholder in WorldSkills Africa since it drives Agenda 2063 for developing the continent amongst member countries, encouraging close cooperation between industry and the emerging labour market. WorldSkills Africa's website says Africa will account for more than half the world's growth by 2050, with a large percentage of its population below 25 years of age, which holds massive potential for economic growth, development, and innovation in Africa.
Namibia is not new to recognising and placing importance on developing technical and vocational skills. The country has provided different platforms and schools for its youth to explore their skillset and prepare for their vocation at seven training centres across Namibia, all of which fall under the auspices of the Namibia Training Authority, the organiser of the WorldSkills Africa competition.
“Having tangible skills is an invaluable asset for anyone, especially our youth. Skills increase employability, reduce poverty, motivate an entrepreneurial mindset, which has the potential to grow small and medium-sized businesses. We all know that our economy is heavily dependent on the establishment and growth of small and medium enterprises," said Bank Windhoek's Executive Officer of Corporate and Institutional Banking, Lukas Nanyemba.
From a Namibian development perspective, the move to highlight vocational training is embedded in the country's fifth National Development Plan (NDP5). NDP5 stipulates investing in technical skills development and upgrading vocational training facilities. Without this emphasis on vocational and technical training, a desired industrialised Namibia envisioned in Vision 2030 would not be possible. With the WorldSkills Africa competition held in Swakopmund, Namibian trainees will have the opportunity to pitch their skills against individuals from other African countries. It is also an opportunity to showcase the Namibian skills market on the African and international stage.
When Bank Windhoek announced its support for the WorldSkills initiative, its Executive Officer for Marketing and Corporate Communication Services said that the Swakopmund event is an essential step in leveraging technical and vocational training as a prominent connector in socio-economic development. Addressing the media, Jacquiline Pack said, "as a connector of positive change, our support of Namibia's Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector contributes to inclusive growth and job creation." She concluded by saying, "this is evident in various national strategies of the Namibian Government, including the Harambee Prosperity Plan 2, the National Development Plan 5, and Vision 2030. Furthermore, we believe the event has contributed to valuable activities in other sectors such as tourism".
WorldSkills Africa Swakopmund was officially opened on Monday, 28 March, and will conclude with a closing ceremony on Saturday, 2 April 2022.