About 1600 students and school leavers in and around Dzivarasekwa High Density suburb are set to benefit from a US$270 000 Dzikwa Trust Employability Skills training program.
The programme is funded through a grant from the Government of Finland through the Finnish CSO of Zimbabwe Society and will run for the next four years starting March 2023. It will see young people, 85% of them girls, receive free training in general computers, International Certificate of Digital Literacy (ICDL), employability skills and entrepreneurship skills.
“We noticed that most of the students who are going to school, after they leave school they will not be able to find employment because they lack employability skills, both soft skills and also hard skills. So we wanted to help the students so that after finishing school they have employment,” said Dzikwa Trust Project Manager for Finnish grant, Natasha Sarudzai Rimura.
She said they were looking at training 400 students each year for the next four years.
“We are targeting 400 students per year and we have three categories, Form 2 to Form 4, we are going to take 150 students from Dzivarasekwa High 1 and Dzivarasekwa High 2. From Form 5 to 6 we will have 100 students from both schools also. Then we have school leavers between the ages 18 to 24, where we will take 150 students from the community,” she said.
Rimura said school heads from the two learning institutions would provide the lists of students who would benefit from the programme each year, adding there was no set out criteria for the recruitment.
“After we get the lists, we then conduct interviews to see if they are committed for a year to do the training. School leavers just have to register their names with us expressing willingness to participate in the programme then we also conduct interviews to ascertain their suitability,” she said
She said the programme was conducted on a voluntary basis, adding that no fees were required for the training, adding that all the training classes would be done at the Skills Centre Building funded by the Japanese Embassy in Zimbabwe at Dzikwa Trust where students would be grouped into classes of 25, who will under- go two hour sessions at least three times a month.
“Since we are dealing with students who are already at school, we are not going to make them come every day because they also have to attend lessons. So they attend a two hour session three times a day so that we don’t take their time from school,” she said.
Rimura said on completion of the training programme, students would be awarded with certificates of attendance.
She said the trust was making efforts to find companies that were prepared to partner with them and offer placements for attachment.
“At the moment we don’t have any dedicated companies that can say after training the students can join us. We are in the process of trying to implement so we are trying to reach out to companies to help the students, so we are still trying to reach out to companies to partner us,” she said.
Rimura, however, noted that they had collaborating partners such as the Junior Achievement Zimbabwe (JAZ), UNICEF, UnCommon.org and their own resources persons as well as external resources from other organisations who would assist with the training.
She said the Bindura University of Science Education would first conduct a baseline study to establish critical performance indicators for the expected outcomes and development impact of the project
“We are also working with Bindura University who are going to do the baseline study. They have to do a research before we start the trainings so that they get more information from the students; what they want and the expected outcomes from the training.
The research will provide us with more information on what we are supposed to do and which areas we need to focus more on,” she said, adding that the research was expected to start in the third week of January 2023, with the lessons expected to start in early March.