President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika on Saturday, 25 March, 2017 led thousands of Malawians to a colourful launch of the Community Technical Colleges (CTC) Programme for the eastern region. The program also marked the commissioning of Mangochi Community Technical College, a state-of-the-art structure that is fully equipped with modern tools and machinery.
This is the fourth and last of the series of regional launches that started with the north in 2015 where Ngara CTC was also officially opened, Mponela in the centre and Naminjiwa in the southern region followed. The CTC initiative is Democratic Progressive Party’s flagship programme that aims at instilling technical, vocational and entrepreneurial skills among the youths for employability and job creation.
So far twelve CTCs have been opened with a total number of well over one thousand students set to graduate in April this year. The program targets to roll out to all the 28 districts of the country in the medium term and spill over to all the constituencies in the long term, targeting mostly the youths and the vulnerable groups in rural communities.
Speaking at a mass rally after commissioning the college, President Mutharika who is also the United Nations (UN) Global Youth Champion challenged the youths of Mangochi to take advantage of the college by enrolling themselves to acquire skills that would enable them to compete for jobs in the district.
“Mangochi Community Technical College is meant to benefit youth of Mangochi District since each district will soon have a college of its own. It is the wish of my Government that this college should empower the youth of Mangochi with technical and vocational skills.
Mangochi is a tourist district, therefore, there are many hotels and resorts that are being constructed along the lake. I do not want contractors that are constructing these structures to take artisans from Lilongwe or Blantyre. The college is going to provide all the required skills and as time progresses the district will have adequate skilled labour force. Then contractors will not have excuses of getting labour from outside the district.” Said Mutharika
Mangochi is one district where most of its youths migrate to the Republic of South Africa for informal work. Reports have imaged of trafficking of desperate youths who have been subjected to abuse and suffering along the way and in their destination. Lack of technical and vocational skills has been cited as one of the major push factors. The coming in of the college is expected to address that challenge and instill a culture of entrepreneurship.
Speaking earlier at the same function, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Henry Mussa narrated the socio-economic impacts the CTC initiative is already making, citing visible business and job creation among beneficiary communities.
“I am pleased to report further progress that Community Technical Colleges programme is transforming lives of many Malawians. The twelve (12) colleges have created over 300 jobs to Malawians in form of teachers and supporting jobs. They have also produce over 1,000 youths, with various skills. Over and above that, businesses of many contractors and suppliers of various training tools and equipment have improved and thereby creating more jobs for many Malawians” Mussa reported.
Mangochi CTC is unique in that unlike the previous colleges, it has been built from the scratch and therefore makes it a model to the rest. Like Ngara, a course in motor cycle repair has been introduced to cater for the booming ‘kabanza’ transport industry in this lakeshore tourist district.
Apart from motor cycle repairs, a course that would also equip trainees to repair engines of boats, Mangochi being a majority fishing community, the college has already enrolled about 120 young people, taking up different courses in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) motor vehicle mechanics, carpentry, tailoring and design, plumbing, metal and fabrication and electrical installation.
The CTC initiatives shows government’s commitment to actively invest in and engage the youths as participants in meaningful social and economic activities through national youth development programmes in order to reap the demographic dividends. Studies have revealed that development of any nation depends largely on the skilled labour force which uses hands and the creative mind to drive its economy.
The Community Colleges so far established are Ngara in Karonga, Ezondweni in Mzimba and Nkhata Bay which is yet to be fully operational. At the Centre are; Mponela in Dowa, Chipumi in Mchinji, Mbandila in Nkhotakota and Chongoni in Dedza. In the Southern Region are Naminjiwa in Phalombe, Chilobwe in Blantyre, Thumbwe in Chiradzulu and Millonga in Thyolo.
Government with assistance from cooperating partners like the European Union and the African Development Bank has intensified the initiative to reach out to as many areas and youths as possible. The EU shall soon be rehabilitating ten CTCs while the ADB is targeting the creation of 17000 jobs for the youths through various initiatives in a four year program called jobs for the youths.