SDI aims at developing the skills of people living and working in the informal sector for the improvement of technical and entrepreneurial skills in order to increase chances of getting employed or being self-employed and/or expanding their own businesses.

Target Group
Traditional apprentices i.e. young people attached to master craftsperson, Unskilled employees, Micro-entrepreneurs and unemployed youths

This is a short term upgrading informal training programme that runs within a period ranging from one to three weeks (1 – 3 Wks). The tailor-made local training modules are targeted to fill skill gaps.
This programme is implemented through the Service Centre or Facilitaion Units (FU). Training takes place at FU or local community.
The training programme is implemented in  collaboration with various  partners e.g. Donors, NGOs, and Malawi Govt.
Partners that have worked with TEVETA include: -  World Vision International, Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF), Norweigian Church Aid (NCA), Department Ffor International Development (DFID), GTZ , Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA) and the like..

The SDI began in 1999 by TEVETA as a loosely designed initiative which was piloted over a period of two years in three locations of Rumphi, Salima and Mwanza. It is  now fully integrated in the TEVET system.

Benefits of apprenticeship
• You get exposed to industry life and ethics of the work place
• You receive well planned and organised training
• You get trained under the supervision of well qualified trainers and experienced supervisors
• You obtain a recognised TEVET certificate at national level upon qualifying for the award
• You improve on job prospects roles and responsibilities

A) Apprentice
• Commit oneself to work and study for a period of four years to be fully qualified in that particular occupation/trade
• Agree to be trained in a chosen occupation/trade
• Sign an apprenticeship contract for a period of three years with an employer
• Follow all instructions given by the employer
• Comply with all regulations and rules and disciplines governing the apprenticeship scheme
• Attend both institutional and industrial training regularly to ensure that a log book is filled in, kept up to date and duly signed by the supervisor
• Pay relevant school fees and examination fees to the relevant examining body
• Participate in all components of the exams as per competency based educational training scheme of assessment

• Ensure that the terms of the contract between the apprentice and the employer are observed
• Produces special contract forms to be signed by the employer and apprentice in triplicate
• Facilitate placement in industry for an apprenticeship
• Register the apprentice
• Monitor on the job training at the work place and institutional learning for the apprentice
• Provide the apprentice with a free log book
• Coordinates examinations throughout the apprenticeship period

C) Employers
• Provide a safe and suitable work environment for the apprentice
• Honour the signed contract with the apprentice
• Train and assess the apprentice in the skills, knowledge and techniques of a chosen occupation/trade
• Release the apprentice for institutional training during block release

Mode of Training - MODE OF TRAINING Institutional Based Training
Trainees cover modules which do not require industrial experience. These are the ones the institution has capacity to handle. The trainees are also exposed to all underpinning theories and fundamental modules at that particular level or qualification.

Industrial Based Training
This training covers modules which are industrial in nature. Trainees are attached to an employer who assigns them to a competent and skilled trainer. Although the trainee is undergoing training, the employer is obliged to pay the trainee a minimum wage as prescribed by the wages advisory council from time to time. After industrial training, trainees may be recalled to college to learn some more theory in preparation for the next level of certificate. This is referred to as block release.

Duration of training
The Apprenticeship scheme is a four year training program punctuated by certification at every stage of achievement.

Choosing an appropriate trade
The occupation/trade that TEVETA facilitates in all technical colleges follows a modular Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) system. The trades are as outlined below.

Automobile Mechanics
It combines the work of a motor vehicle mechanics and auto electric mechanics. The work involves maintenance of all types of motor vehicles. It involves dismantling car parts, repairing or fitting-in of new parts and repairing of the complete wiring system of a car.

nvolves proper laying of bricks, hollow tiles and similar building blocks including stone in the construction of solid and cavity walls of a structure. The programme also involves plastering of walls and surfaces.

• Carpentry and Joinery
Carpentry and Joinery is divided into two categories-workshop operations and site work. Workshop operation consists of setting out and assembling doors, windows, stairs, and timber etc. Site work consists of the setting out and fixing of rough-sawn timber in the construction of roofs, floors and the like.
Electric installation
Electricians are usually engaged in the installation of lighting, heating and power equipment and the repairing of existing equipment and appliances, factory plants, machinery and generating equipment.

• Fabrication and Welding
It is an engineering trade concerned with the joining of metal pieces or articles by heating the edges until they melt and fuse together using flames, electric arcs and other methods for the purpose of joining and penetration. Welding has replaced the traditional methods of joining metal such as riveting and bolting.

General Fitting

This deals with all types of industrial plants and machinery. In plant maintenance, a fitter may have to dismantle and fit new parts. At times the fitter may have to make these parts as well.. In their work, general fitters use heavy machines such as lathes, shaping machines, drilling and milling machines to produce the parts.

Painting and Decoration
This involves preparation and painting or papering walls, ceilings and industrial equipment.
This involves the preparation, assembling, installation and maintenance of pipes, fittings and fixtures of drainage and sanitary systems. This also involves the joining of pipes, testing for leakages and carrying out reparation and maintenance work on heating and ventilation systems.

A printer is involved in various activities in printing industry to produce newsprint and books and the like.

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
It involves maintenance and repairing of all types of refrigeration and air conditioning systems such as domestic, commercial, marine and industrial. These include such items as household, hotel, shop refrigerators, deep freezers, hospitals, cooling plants, refrigerated transport, cold rooms and the like.

Vehicle Body Repairing
This trade involves panel beating services when vehicles are bashed up during an accident to make them smooth and spray painting.

Wood Work Machining
It involves the cutting and machining of components or parts for side boards, tables, cabinets and chairs. A machinist also assembles and unassembled joinery. Sets up and maintains joinery machinery.

Water Plant Operator
This involves equipping trainees with skills to operate ground and surface water pumps, maintain water plants, and treat surface and ground water Conserve forests. The course started as an in-house tailor-made program for Lilongwe Water Board and later was formalised and extended to other boards in the country. The targeted beneficiaries are the plant operators with view to improve their skills for better services and also for recognition for remuneration. Currently a good number of plant operators from all the water boards have been trained and certified.


The tailoring curriculum aims at enabling a trainee use tailoring machines, cut cloth, take measurements, and make patterns, altering patterns and construct garments. Currently the courses are offered at Phwezi Women Training Centre, St. John of God in Mzuzu and other centres countrywide doing tailor-made programmes.

Food Production
The curriculum aims at equipping a trainee with skills to prepare various types of foods, storing foods, butchering meat and observe safety in the kitchen.
Those who go through this training are capable of working efficiently in tourist places like hotels and restaurants.

Professional Driver
The curriculum is aimed at equipping trainees drive small vehicles and heavy goods, maintain vehicles, pack and unpack cargo, manage cargo, carry dangerous and ordinary cargo, maintain a vehicle and carry out pre-drive checks. Trainees going through this program are capable of transporting goods nationally and internationally.

Formal Apprenticeship Programme
The Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) Authority  is a regulatory body that was established in 1999 by an Act of Parliament with the mandate to promote and regulate sustainable acquisition of quality technical, entrepreneurial and vocational training for Malawian workforce in a socially responsible manner.
One of the programmes regulated and facilitated by the TEVET Authority is Formal Apprenticeship. The Formal Apprenticeship Programme is a modular competency based training delivered through registered TEVET institutions and industrial attachment. The training programme certification is done at levels One to Four of achievements, where trainees acquire practical and theoretical knowledge in the occupation of their choice. Trainees under this programme are called apprentices.
The purpose of the Formal Apprenticeship Programme is to generate qualified and competent artisans and technicians for existing and prospective industry, thereby creating both wage and self-employment.
An apprentice is a person who is learning an occupation by practical experience under a skilled worker.
To be eligible for formal apprenticeship one should have a Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) and/or its equivalent. Credit passes in English, Mathematics and a Science subject is an added advantage. A recruitment process for the Formal Apprenticeship Programme follows an advertisement, application, shortlisting, entrance examination (aptitude test) and ultimate selection of successful candidates into registered TEVET Institutions. The adverts for recruitment of apprentices are placed in the media. Application forms are distributed once a year in TEVET Regional Service Centre offices, District Assemblies, Traditional Authorities, Teacher Development Centres and through the TEVET Authority website. Females are strongly encouraged to apply. Selected candidates are notified through the print and electronic media.
Based on the labour market demand, occupations in the Apprenticeship Programme, among others, include; Carpentry and Joinery, Automobile Mechanics, Electrical Installation and Electronics, Plumbing, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics, Bricklaying, Tailoring and Fashion Design, Painting and Decoration, General Fitting, Vehicle Body Repairing and Refinishing, Printing, Wood Work Machining, Food Production and Professional Driving.
Fees and training costs
The Apprenticeship Training Programme operates on a cost sharing basis. The apprentices pay prescribed fees directly to the training institutions, while as the TEVET Authority pays a subsidy for the cost of training material at the TEVET institutions.
Benefits of Formal Apprenticeship
Acquisition of knowledge and skills for employment
Exposure to industry life and ethics of the work place.
Training under the supervision of well qualified trainers and experienced supervisors.
Acquisition of a competitive and recognised TEVET qualification.
Generation of skilled manpower for the existing employers and prospective investors.
Overall, the Apprenticeship Programme helps to increase equitable access to quality and relevance of technical, entrepreneurial and vocational Education and training in line with the social and economic development in Malawi.