Vocational training will push Namibia into industrialization (The Namibia Press Agency)

A healthy mix of tertiary, vocational education and training for the youth is the cornerstone to push Namibia into an industrialization phase, says the Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Agnes Tjongarero.

Speaking at the launching of the 2015 United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Youth Development Fund on Wednesday Tjongarero raised the concern that much of the high unemployment rate among the youth is due to the lack of funds, skills and appropriate experience to pursue careers in the Namibian economy.

The UNDP youth development fund, which is an initiative between UNDP, the ministry and Wilderness Safari since 2014 is aimed at sponsoring the youth for training in areas of tourism and conservancies.

Creating a knowledgeable society with a healthy mix of tertiary and vocational education and training is the cornerstone to propel Namibia into the industrialization phase and young people remain the key to this transformation. It has thus become necessary to focus on empowerment as the crucial requirement for sustainable solution to poverty and unemployment among our youth, she noted.

Empowering the youth by establishing platforms that allow them to access economic, social and even spiritual means to develop their capabilities should therefore be the emphasis of all training and capacity development programs, according to Tjongarero.

The ministry has a youth empowerment program that offers short training programs for the youth without school-leaving certificates. Youth from all the 14 regions can be enrolled in various training courses which include environmental education and awareness, tourism, youth and reproductive health, integrated rural youth development, advocacy and youth leadership development.

Let us all join hands and continue to support youth development initiatives and thereby contribute to building a nation with empowered youth and help fight poverty, she added.

Meanwhile, speaking at the same occasion, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Neil Boyer said supporting the youth for tourism training is seen as good entry point for his organization.

UNDP can contribute tangibly and significantly to the development of Namibia and her people by collaborating with government such as the ministry of youth and the public sector such as Wilderness Safari. This would be a proactive approach to develop skills and capacities among the youth so they can participate in national development through employment and contribute to sustainable human development, he noted.

He called on the tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and technology sectors to come on board and engage with the UNDP to support this program to empower the Namibian youth.

A total of 45 young people from all corners of the country benefitted so far since last year by attending tourism training at Wilderness Safari.