THE Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment ministry plans to increase the enrolment of youths in vocational training centres from the current 7 300 to 50 000 by the end of this year as it drives towards its target of 500 000 by 2018.
According to the latest issue of the Hansard, a parliamentary publication, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment deputy minister Mathias Tongofa said this was part of the government’s efforts to economically empower the country’s youths in line with the ZimAsset policy document.
“The first programme is increasing enrolment in vocational training centres. In line with the ZimAsset, the ministry is focusing on the development of skills in order to create innovative youth products and services in different economic sectors,” Tongofa said.
“Vocational skills training, entrepreneurship development and mentorship have been identified as key vehicles to achieve sustainable youth economic empowerment.
“To this end, the ministry has embarked on a massive drive to increase enrolment at the existing vocational training centres as well as increasing their capacity to handle the large numbers.
“Total enrolment is expected to increase from the current 7 300 to 50 000 by the end of the current year.
“We are targeting to enrol 500 000 by 2018,” he said.
Tongofa was responding to Zanu PF Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna’s inquiry on polices put in place to curb the social exclusion of youths in indigenous empowerment programmes.
Tongofa said youths living with disabilities were being encouraged to set up businesses that would enhance their livelihoods and create employment.
In October last year, Tongofa said the controversial national youth training centres, which were notorious for churning out the Border Gezi youth militia, were set to be revived as soon as the government secured funding to resuscitate the programme.
The programme was halted after revelations of rampant sexual abuse of young girls at camps countrywide as well as the political indoctrination and militarisation of the youths infamously known as Green Bombers.
The MDC formations also attacked the programme saying what should have been a noble national youth service had been transformed into training a Zanu PF youth militia used to assault and intimidate political opponents, particularly in rural areas, during elections.