The Namibia Training Authority (NTA) will fund vocational education apprentices, who are part of their first TVET apprenticeship pilot project, to the tune of N$41 460 747.68 million over the next four years, chief executive officer Jerry Beukes has said.
When broken down, N$ 16.5 million has been set aside for the 2018/19 financial year; to about N$13.3 million in the 2019/20 financial year; to about N$9.8 in the 2020/21 financial year; and to about N$2.5 million in the 2021/22 financial year.
The attempt to reintroduce apprenticeship programs for the students saw the first ever brightest daylight this year when the NTA entered into apprenticeship funding agreements with altogether 14 employers.
“We are confident that the pilot project, despite it having exceeded its initial target of 10 employers and 50 apprentices to where it stands now at 22 employers and 300 apprentices – remains manageable and feasible. We are geared for the full implementation thereof. We are ready for any challenge we may encounter along the way.”
“We are open to the lessons we stand to learn from implementation. We remain committed to establish Work-Integrated Learning in Technical and Vocational Education and Training, because we believe in its potential as an additional (and often preferred) training avenue for deserving young Namibians,” said Beukes.
The money will not be channelled directly to the students but via the participating employers.
Beukes said although apprenticeship often prove challenging, particularly for smaller employers, however, limited resources should not be barriers to apprenticeship.
“A key feature of this pilot project, which targets a wide array of training areas, including occupations in the Hospitality and Tourism; Automotive Mechanics; Manufacturing; ICT; Business Management; and Agriculture fields - is that the NTA, is to subsidise apprenticeships under this pilot project, through its Vocational Education and Training Levy programme.”
“The NTA is also to link participating employers to prospective TVET institutions, while we are also to assume a key quality assurance role in monitoring trainee placement ratios, and in ensuring structured training delivery towards certifying participants with registered qualifications,” he said.
Beukes said it is the prerogative of the employers to sensitise current employees with respect to receiving new apprentices; whereas they also need to ensure a conducive working environment in terms of health and safety requirements and personal protective equipment.
He added that it also rests upon the employers to ensure selection and recruitment processes are fair and transparent; that an acceptable mentor: apprentice ratio is maintained; that apprentices rotate for exposure through all skill areas relevant to a qualification; and that tools and equipment are available.
“Participating employers also need to coordinate access for NTA, industry and TVET institution representatives to perform workplace quality assurance evaluations; and cooperate in terms of recommendations that might emanate from such evaluations,” he added.