Promoting and leveraging VET career paths and fighting the societal perception, under which such options are stereotyped as low status with limited potential for career growth, is an important component of the NTA’s mandate, and will remain a priority for the considerable future.

In this regard, the NTA implements two main advocacy programme vehicles, namely, a) the National Skills Competition (under the auspices of WorldSkills Namibia) and b) The ‘Live Your Passion’ television and social media campaign.

With a few exceptions, the socio-economic environment and the contextual framework in which VET delivery systems currently operate on the African continent is characterised, in general, by slow economic growth; high population growth; a growing labour force; stagnant wage employment opportunities in the industrial sector; increasing numbers of poorly educated, unskilled and unemployed youth; and uncoordinated, unregulated and fragmented delivery systems.

Although Namibia has made good progress in overcoming many of these challenges, poor public perception of VET occupations and VET institutions continue to pose a serious challenge to efforts to leverage VET as a viable career path. The situation is further exacerbated by geographical, gender and economic inequities.

Both public (Vocational Training Centres) and private providers deliver VET in Namibia. Private provision is on the increase, both in terms of number of institutions and student numbers. This trend is linked to the fact that private providers also target “soft” business and service sector skills like secretarial practice, cookery and dressmaking that do not require huge capital outlays to deliver. A limited amount of in-company or enterprise-based training also takes place. However, this type of training is often dedicated to the sharpening of specific skills of company employees.

There exists a need to promote VET as a tool for economic empowerment in Namibia. It will have to involve changing perceptions and attitudes of the public about VET. The key issues the NTA’s career advocacy work seeks to address are the following:

  • Poor Perception of VET: The public, and even parents, consider the VET track as fit for only the academically less endowed. A stereotype exists that students entering the VET stream will find it difficult to proceed to higher education.
  • Gender Stereotyping: Some VET programmes like dressmaking, hairdressing, and cookery are associated with girls – very often girls who are less gifted academically.
  • Trainer Competence: The delivery of quality VET is dependent on the competence of the trainer. The public seems to doubt the competence of VET trainers.
  • Linkage between VET and General Education: VET is perceived to form a separate parallel system within the education system with its own institutions, programmes, and teachers. This situation tends to reinforce the perception of inferiority of the VET track.
  • Linkage of TVET to the Labour Market: The ultimate aim of vocational training is employment. Perceptions also exist that VET programmes are not clearly linked to the job market.
  • Harmonisation of VET Programmes and Qualifications: VET qualifications are not perceived as portable across national frontiers, due to a lack of harmonisation of individual country training programmes and qualifications.

Considering this background, the primary objective of the NTA’s career advocacy initiatives is to enhance the status and attractiveness of VET career paths. This objectives is informed by a general appreciation that VET should be promoted as a tool for economic empowerment, ins spite of the prevailing stereotypes that continue to stigmatise such career paths.

Other objectives, include:

  • Supporting the employability of trainees;
  • Leveraging and promoting credible registered/accredited VET institutions;
  • Establishing key partnerships and synergies to promote VET, especially in terms of linkages with education directorates, donors and employers; and
  • Promoting VET as life-long, which also means that learners with limited access to training in the past have a second chance to build on skills and competencies.

WorldSkills has built a movement that is changing the lives of young people through skills. With 84 member organisations reaching two-thirds of the world’s population and creating measurable impact at every level, WSI build the confidence of millions of young people, empowering communities and fueling economies.

Adopted in 2016, WSI’s Vision 2025 sets out the future direction of the organisation and itsstrategy for a global movement that continues to grow in size and scope. It identifies three broad strategic goals to achieve this, namely a) by raising the ambition and opportunities of vocational training and education, b) enhancing the quality of VET provision by improving connections to labour markets and employers, and c) building the organisational capacity of WorldSkills and the global competitiveness of members through skills.

Namibia is a member of WorldSkills International. The WorldSkills Namibia chapter, under the auspices of the NTA, aligns its work to that of WSI and its vision to raise the profile and recognition of skilled people, and to show how important skills are in achieving economic growth and personal success.

WorldSkills Namibia stages biennial national skills competitions. Eligible local technical and vocational career practitioners/graduates/trainees measure their skills against each other on a platform which also includes a career exposition and conference, all aimed at creating awareness amongst Namibian communities about the importance of technical and vocational skills. These events also serve as platforms from which to select Namibia’s competitors to participate in the biennial WoirldSkills International Competitions.

Learn more about WorldSkills Namibia and the work it does in this regard, by visiting their website as per the following link.

https://worldskills.org/members/namibia

The Live Your Passion campaign promotes VET as a viable channel for personal skill and competency acquisition for employment, sustainable livelihoods and responsible citizenship. It acknowledges that the negative perceptions that stereotype VET careers as low-paying, low-status options that offer little potential for personal advancement will not be eradicated over the short to medium term. It further recognises that the NTA, in its efforts to counter these perceptions, will for the foreseeable future have to implement innovative plans to make an impact.

The campaign does so through profiling Namibian technical and vocational career practitioners as champions/ambassadors of a specific trade occupation. Covering over 45 different career episode sets over the course of two broadcast seasons, the campaign tells the inspiring stories of local champions who are excelling in a specific domain.

The episode sets are made up of a five-minute generic video which focuses on the basics of a specific occupation and the attributes a prospective candidate needs to possess; and a 15-minute profile of an individual who are practicing this specific occupation.

The episode sets are consolidated in book and DVD formats and shared with all Namibian schools, primary and secondary, to be used as a resource in introducing Namibian learners to the wide array of options on offer. All the videos, that have been broadcast on the NBC’s national television service, remains accessible through a dedicated YouTube channel.

Learn more about the Live Your Passion Campaign by visiting the technical and vocational careers portal on this website, as per the following link.

Live Your Passion Portal link

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