By Monica Tambala MANA

Ministry of Labour has launched the ‘Zantchito -Skills for Jobs’ programme aimed at improving the employability and self-employment opportunities of Technical Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) young graduates and young entrepreneurs, especially women.

Speaking on Tuesday during the launch of the programme in Lilongwe, Minister of Labour Agnes Nyalonje commended the Zantchito programme, which she said is a step in President Lazarus Chakwera’s job creation strategy.

Nyalonje called Zantchito ‘a one stop shop centre for the youths’ as it is extremely targeted to provide many opportunities for youth productivity.

“Up to this point we’ve been training our youths in various trades but we’ve not consciously included cross-cutting areas like ICT, environmental sustainability and digitalization.

“Through this special programme, which is path finding, we will begin to offer TEVET training differently because it is demonstrating that this is how we ought to go; base the training on actual industry needs and then bring in different partners to do different things that they are good at to make sure that we provide the whole holistic skills package to our youth,” she said.

She added that once the youths have graduated through the centres of excellence, they will also have enhanced access to financing so that they can become entrepreneurs.

In his remarks, EU Ambassador Rune Skinnebach said the objectives of the Zantchito programme support the aspirations laid down in the Malawi vision 2063 and promised to diligently work together with government to ensure the programme contributes to inclusive wealth creation and self-reliance.

“We share the conviction that investing in human development is not only a normative obligation at the core of the EU’s multilateral commitment to achieving the SDGs but also the smartest long-term economic and political investment for sustainable development and stability.

“The Zantchito programme will work towards these goals by fostering an entrepreneurial culture, facilitating sustainable enterprise, bringing together business incubators and providers of business development services to deliver high quality services to entrepreneurs, ultimately leading to the creation of decent formal jobs,” he said.

Aside all this, Skinnebach said together with the Ministry of Labour, Zantchito is working to improve the business operating environment for MSMEs, provide a platform for dialogue between entrepreneurs and policy makers, as well as support implementation of labour laws and practices.

Executive director for TEVET, Elwin Sichiola, called for a mindset change towards skills development, saying most people think entrepreneurs are those who failed in education.

Sichiola said it is high time the country sent its brightest minds into skills development as these will take lead in industrialization, agricultural mechanization and development of urban sectors.

The Zantchito programme started in August 2020 with the Malawi Government and the EU signing the financing agreement that would unlock €55 million for skills development in Malawi.

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