Hichilema’s knack for skills development attracts AU accolade

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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema is set to receive recognition from the African Union next month for his dedication to developing skills and education.

This news comes on the heels of a landmark partnership between the government, First Quantum Minerals (FQM), and Luanshya Technical and Business College (LTBC) aimed at enhancing the mining sector’s workforce.

Minister of Technology and Science, Felix Mutati, announced on Saturday of Hichilema’s upcoming recognition during a commemoration event in Kalumbila, highlighting FQM’s crucial role in the initiative.

He lauded the company’s commitment to “not only getting but also giving back” through investments in skills development.

Junior Kaizer, General Manager of FQM’s Trident Mine, emphasized the urgent need for a skilled workforce.

He revealed a shortage of qualified operators, with trucks at the Sentinel Pit standing idle due to insufficient personnel.

This underscores the urgency of the skills gap and the critical role of collaborations like the one established with LTBC.

Kaizer commended the partnership’s positive impact, enabling locally trained youth and even seniors to seamlessly integrate into the workforce.

He expressed eagerness to tap into the talent pool provided by the college’s graduates.

“We don’t really have time to train and to train people to the right quality. And therefore we are so excited and we rely so heavily on the government
and the technical institutions to work together to supply this farce.” Kaizer said.

“So we are eagerly waiting for the products (graduates) that we can use to our advantage.”

Mutati emphasized the government’s collaboration with FQM to establish a “center of excellence” for delivering mining and related skills.

Prior to the event the minister and his entourage were given a tour of the Trident mine to see the operations which he confessed it was not child’s play.

The goal of the partnership is to empower local communities with the expertise needed to contribute directly to the Trident mine’s operations and other companies outside Northwestern Province.

Meanwhile, with an eye on the 2025 World Skills Africa Competition which will be hosted in Zambia, Mutati encouraged LTBC students to participate and showcase their skills on a continental level.

By Moses Makwaya

Kalemba February 5, 2025

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