THE Zambian High Commission in South Africa has secured apprenticeship opportunities for five Zambian newly graduate students with a South African-based company.
The five who recently graduated in civil and mechanical engineering from the University of Zambia arrived in Johannesburg yesterday and were met in Pretoria and handed over to the South African company, Ubun2 Group of Companies, by Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba.
The five, Alice Munthali, Ricky Siamatu, Enoch Sichone, Wilson Kapungwe and Charles Silungwe, will be attached for a three-month period to Ubun2 Group’s operations situated in Pietermaritzburg and Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mr. Mwamba described the development as an exciting and momentous occasion for Zambia which came to fruition two months after the idea was mooted in his office.
He commended Ubun2 for responding positively and immediately to the request for the company to contribute towards helping the Zambian Government address youth unemployment and skills development.
“There are over 250 South African companies operating in Zambia and another hundred waiting to enter the Zambian market. Whenever they come to my office, I always narrate to them about our high unemployment levels and the fact that they need to develop quality and skilled employees as we are not a dumping site. I am happy to note that Ubun2 Group is one such company that has responded positively and immediately. This comes at their own cost and they are not even benefitting at the moment as they have not yet invested in Zambia,” he said.
“So this is a remarkable and commendable gesture by Ubun2. Government is very excited for the fact that they are this committed,” he added.
Mr. Mwamba was speaking at the hand-over of the five nominees to Ubun2 Group of Companies at the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria yesterday.
He told the five to realise that they were a privileged group who were lucky to have been picked for the programme.
“You have come here for exposure. This is a moment of sacrifice for a better future and it is one opportunity many others would jump for using their own resources but you are lucky that Ubun2 has fully taken up all the expenses. You will live to remember this moment as it has permanently been inked on your CV’s. It is a great day which has come to fruition after two months of working on the idea,” the High Commissioner said.
Mr. Mwamba took the opportunity to urge young Zambians to strive to be employers and not employees by taking up courses that would equip them with entrepreneurial skills. He said he received a lot of distressing requests from young qualified Zambians for assistance in getting jobs which were not even available in Zambia.
Mr. Mwamba urged Zambians to emulate Germany and Japan which recovered and built their economies to becoming among the world’s strongest after having had suffered calamities. Germany suffered extensive destruction by the end of the Second World War in 1945 while Japan was demolished when two atomic bombs were dropped on the country in 1945.
The High Commissioner explained that in their re-building efforts, Germany focused on strengthening its engineering industry while Japan identified technology.
“Most of us want white-collar jobs but if you look at Germany which invested in engineering and Japan which focused on technology, today they are some of the biggest economies we have,” he said.
And Ubun2 Group of Companies Corporate Affairs Director, Apostle Emmanuel Nkhoma, said his company was happy to receive the five candidates. He explained that the civil engineering nominees will be involved in township development projects in Pietermaritzburg while those with mechanical engineering qualifications will be deployed to work under one of oldest engineers in South Africa who was running the equipment manufacturing division of the company.
“They will be involved in working on building one of the biggest stone mining equipment. At the end, they will not only have acquired knowledge but would have made a name for themselves by being involved in building a mobile stone crushing plant,” he said.
Apostle Nkhoma said Ubun2 hoped to enter the Zambian market with a labour force that possessed appropriate skills. “We are eagerly looking forward to starting our operations in Zambia as soon as we are done with preparatory work,” he said.
The five candidates particularly thanked President Edgar Lungu and his Government for showing commitment to alleviating challenges being posed by the high unemployment levels in Zambia.
They also thanked the High Commission for facilitating their participation in the internship programme and pledged to apply the skills they will have acquired when they return to Zambia.