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Internships To Close Skills Gabs: U.S. ambassador

Mon, 17 June 2013 02:05
by Truly Xamises

The Polytechnic of Namibia’s Centre for Cooperative Education (CCE), entered into an agreement with the American Embassy in Namibia to secure internship opportunities for its students with United States’ missions abroad.
“In Namibia, we hear quite frequently that students struggle to find jobs because employers are looking for people who already have experience and skills.  Students ask “how can I get experience until I first get a job to give me that experience?”  It’s a fair question!  I think the government and employers here generally agree that there is a skills gap that must be addressed,” said the United States Ambassador, Wanda Nesbitt.
At the signing ceremony held last week Thursday, Nesbitt outlined the importance of internships to students worldwide.
She also thanked the Polytechnic of Namibia, for building a longstanding cooperative relationship with the US Embassy.  
Nesbitt also said that students do not only gain a career-related experience through internships, but they also develop important life skills.
These include how to work inside an organization; how to work and negotiate with different types of people; how to take constructive criticism; how to comport oneself in a professional environment; and, perhaps most importantly, how to get the job done. She said that such skills are crucial to success in any job.
Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia, Professor Tjama Tjivikua, said that establishing such a partnership not only makes the industry an extension of the learning environment, but also creates a pool of experts who will from time to time provide feedback that informs the curriculum.
According to Tjivikua, the Polytechnic and the US Embassy have engaged previously in several ways.
“Over the years, we have received numerous delegations from the US including university and college presidents, scholars, students and influential US politicians and citizens, who were here on academic and cultural exchanges,” said Tjivikua.
The Polytechnic has also entered into partnerships with various institutions of higher education.
These include Highline Community College, Utah Valley University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), University of New Mexico, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Michigan State University, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, to name a few.
Tjivikua also revealed that at the end of June, the CCE) will participate at the upcoming World Association for Cooperative Education (WACE) in Durban, South Africa.
The CCE was established three years ago by the Polytechnic with the aim of facilitating the placement of students in the work environment and with the mandate to build partnerships with industries for the purpose of work integrated learning.
Furthermore, the President of the WACE, Paul Stonely and Professor Jim Stellar, the Provost form Queens College together with three other members from a delegation, will visit the Polytechnic in September to review the status  of cooperative education in the country.
This is the first time the US Embassy to Namibia has entered into a formal internship agreement with a local university.