The Namibian Training Authority (NTA) this week awarded 18 certificates in Level 5 Occupationally Directed Education, Training and Development Practices (ODETD) Agriculture to the first participants of the (ODETD) programme.
The participants received training from South African company, Very Cool Ideas who was recruited to offer their 8 month Training programme. The training programme included eight weeks of intensive contract sessions under which participants received training in Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) teaching, facilitation, assessment and moderation.
The graduation was a first of its kind in efforts to redress the acute shortage of skilled labour force in the agriculture sector. The initiative is aimed at promoting human resource and skills development in the agriculture sector. Speaking at the graduation NTA Chief Operations Officer Jerry Beukes said, the NTA is very aware about expectations to support greater investment in Namibia’s agriculture sector. However unfortunately from a skills development perspective, the local agriculture sector is proving to be a bit of a challenge for the NTA and their partner the Promotion of Vocational Education and Training Project (ProVET) which was launched by the ministry of Education and the German Embassy last year.
“Although our local higher institutions of learning, including the University of Namibia and the Polytechnic of Namibia currently offer formal higher education qualifications in agriculture, agricultural skills training in Namibia is available only through a limited number of informal short courses offered by various government, non -government and private training providers. So far, there are no accredited lower-level vocational training courses and qualifications for agriculture registered on the National Qualifications Framework”.
He also said that Namibians working in agriculture, such as farm labourers, small-medium and larger scale farmers would either have acquired agricultural skills and competencies through on job training, from informal training courses or from parents and grandparents. Also speaking at the awarding ceremony Deputy Director at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Johanna Andawa said the agriculture industry in Namibia has shown a very strong interest in the development of an accredited practical skills training programme and has clarified that there is a large demand for skilled workers and farmers.
“This initiative is not only a way of redressing the critical shortage of skilled workers in the agriculture sector but also as a way of promoting human resource and skills development in the agriculture sector. To achieve this the infrastructure at MAWF training institutions namely MADI and TAZAC where trainees will make their 1 year training in Crop and Livestock Husbandry Level are being upgraded to be ready for implementation of the CBET programme come 2015”, she said. The certificate course covers the key areas of planning, delivery, assessment and moderation. It is accredited in South Africa by the South African Qualifications Authority, and is such recognised by the Namibian Qualifications Authority.