Gov’t promotes automotive, HER skills in TEVET Institutions, unveiling US$4.1 million project


GOVERNMENT, through the Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati, is championing the development of automotive and heavy equipment repair (HER) skills in Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) institutions. 

Mutati, shared his enthusiasm during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of an Automotive and Heavy Equipment Repair extension workshop at Northern Technical College (NORTEC) in Ndola on Monday.

The US$4.1 million project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and managed by cooperating partners Volvo and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the Zambian government. 

This initiative is part of the second phase of the Zambia Industrial Training Academy (ZAMITA).

Mutati encouraged students to seize the opportunity provided by the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) bursary skills fund, emphasizing the importance of acquiring knowledge in automation, a crucial tech trend in mining productivity.

He highlighted the need for TEVET institutions to equip lecturers with comprehensive knowledge to keep pace with innovations in the mining sector, especially given the significant investments being made in mining.

“All the workshops will be equipped at both physical and intellectual levels. At an intellectual level, let us design a deliberate program for our lecturers at NORTEC (Northern Technical College) to upgrade their skills, including secondment to other public and private sector companies,” Mutati stated.

The minister proposed exposing students to industry through apprenticeships to enhance standards in automotive and heavy equipment repair.

He emphasized the necessity of rebooting the curriculum to respond to technological advancements in the mining sector.

“To upgrade the quality, let us reboot our curriculum. Let us have a curriculum of the future that responds to the principles of technology and innovations taking place in the mining sector,” Mutati urged.

Mutati disclosed that the government has injected K79 million to improve infrastructure, equipment, and capacity for both lecturers and students, aiming to enhance access to quality education.

The minister also announced plans to send six lecturers abroad for apprenticeship programs to ensure they are well-trained to produce competent students.

In his call to stakeholders, Mutati urged partnerships to provide attachments for students and contribute to the budget necessary for hosting the World Skills Africa competition in Zambia next year.

“We expect the entire Africa to be here. If there’s any trophy we must not miss, it’s in heavy equipment. When you come, number one, you will open the world to the rest of Africa and have a huge source of revenue from students that will come from abroad,” he asserted.

UNIDO Consultant William Goldsmith commended the transformative partnership as instrumental in achieving sustainable development and economic empowerment. 

He emphasized the project’s goal of bridging the gap between education and employment, fostering a skilled and innovative workforce.

NORTEC Principal Martin Kasonso expressed optimism about the project’s impact on student enrollment and opportunities for innovation and incubation hubs. 

Kasonso called on government agencies, parastatals, and private organizations to support NORTEC by contracting their vehicle services and repairs once the workshops are completed.

“We are ready to partner with them and help to train their operators in service and maintenance and upscailing of their mechanics in expertise in hydraulics and pneumatics systems,” Kasonso stated.

By Mwaka Ndawa  

Kalemba, February 28, 2024.


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