High Demand for Namcol Vocational Courses

The Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol) is impressed with the huge intake of students at its centres for vocational training.

Namcol introduced the vocational training programme last year and offers short courses in various technical fields. Giving an overview of the newly introduced short courses in an interview with New Era yesterday, Namcol marketing and information officer Freddy Kaukungua said since the introduction of the vocational training programme a year ago, the centre has registered 193 students countrywide.

The certificate courses run for a maximum of six months and include motor mechanics, plumbing, welding, office administration, pipe-fitting, foundation qualification programmes, as well as metal fabrication. Each of the courses consist of various modules aimed for the trades according to the requirements of the Namibia Training Authority (NTA). The overall objective of introducing such courses is to complement efforts by the Ministry of Education to expand vocational training and education, because tertiary institutions in the country cannot absorb all successful Grade 12 learners. Acccording to Kaukungua as employment opportunities in the formal sector shrink, the acquisition of business management and entrepreneurial skills for self-employment become crucial to alleviate unemployment.

The development of entrepreneurial skills for self-employment are a central part of the course offerings. Kaukungua says the number of trainees could have been significantly higher, but many applicants did not make it through the interviews, while others left for further studies and some quit due to job offers. “Thousands of learners applied and they had to go through a selection process. Once they meet the requirements they go through a psychometric test. Upon the receipt of the results, one can see who is capable to participate,” he said. Namcol received N$8.9 million from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Namibia to expand vocational training. Moreover, the short courses are offered for free. “Due to a lack of space, we can only accommodate office administration, plumbing and welding. We can only take 20 students per course since there is no enough space in the workshops,” he said.

Kaukungua also added that overall the Namcol trainee intake is about 35 000 on average, including vocational training and grades 10 and 12 learners. To qualify for vocational training one must at least have a Grade 10 certificate with a pass in English, Mathematics and Science, except in the case of Office Administration, which does not require Science. Another requirement is to have background or experience in a field to enrol or a technical subject such as design and technology.

Source : New Era