There are currently 42 vocational training institutions in the country and most are suffering from the twin evils of dilapidated infrastructure and low enrolments, caused by a lack of interest from potential students.
ZYC Director Livingstone Dzikira told The Zimbabwean that the centres were decaying due to poor funding.
“The government has been struggling because there is no [money] for many of these programmes within our budgets,” Dzikira said.
He said the government had made the commitment to fund the VTCs but the money had not been forthcoming.
“Enrolment is still low because some of their facilities are not working. They are also struggling with infrastructure issues. They need refurbishment,” he added.
He said vocational centres were also in need of computers because every student needed to be computer literate.
“School drop-outs are piling up in our communities so the state of vocational training centres needs attention by not just government but even private companies. A young person who has no job and no hope of employing himself is likely to become a criminal,” he said.
Dzikira acknowledged that young people were likely to face serious challenges after graduating.
“Funding is an important component of the youth development agenda. Those who have been trained should be given a start-up kit or even some start-up funding,” he said.
“We also need back-up support in the form of mentorship. You need to link young people up with markets so that you are not just throwing them out on their own. Most businesses fail in the first or second phase so they need mentorship.”
Few young people in the country, however, even know about the training centres; others associate them with the controversial National Youth Service.
“We are crying for the media to help us in raising awareness with the public. Information dissemination is a problem. There are some areas where people do not have access to the internet and in some areas people don’t even have access to radio,” said Dzikira. “We have asked the VTCs to advertise their programmes in the newspaper every year.”
Meanwhile, Dzikira said the youth council would approach the minister of state for provincial affairs in the Midlands about the continued use of the Senga Training Centre by Midlands State University.
The university, faced with infrastructure problems of its own, has a whole faculty housed at the nearby centre and its students occupy most of the halls of residence.
“It’s not everyone who will go to university and it’s not everyone who needs a university. Our society needs practical skills as well as university degrees to move forward,” he said.Post published in: News