90 Artisans Graduate under the Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme

History was made today as 90 artisans graduated under the Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme.

The artisans are the first cohort to successfully graduate from the Artisanal Training Programme.

The Artisanal skills training programme is a structured initiative aimed at providing young individuals with practical, hands on craft training or trade based skills. The purpose is to equip participants with knowledge to engage in specific areas that do not require formal university or college training.

The programme is spearheaded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Eswatini in partnership with various municipalities around the country and the Construction Industry Council, among other stakeholders.

The Ezuwini Municipality was the first to start implementation and received over 350 applications. A total of 90 were selected and underwent a three month training programme at the Manzini Industrial Training Centre (MITC).

The artisans were trained under a number of areas which include; sewing, building & construction, metalwork, plumbing, electrical installation and upholstery.

Present during the high level graduation ceremony was the Minister of Education & Training, Lady Howard-Mabuza, the Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harris Madze Bulunga, the UN Resident Coordinator, George Wachira, UNDP Resident Representative, Rose Ssebatindira, Ezulwini Municipality Mayor, Bongile Mbingo, MITC Principal, France Mavuso, among other esteemed individuals and stakeholders.

When making his remarks, UN Resident Coordinator George Wachira stressed that the programme is important as it stresses that even if the youth may not have completed formal school they can still thrive.

“Our graduates today include those whom for various reasons, found themselves outside of the formal school system at different stages. We are here to affirm that being outside of the formal school system does not mean- and should not mean- that we cannot pursue the education and the skills we need to make a living, have a fulfilling life, and contribute to development,” he noted.

He added that artisanal skills can play a major role in ensuring value addition to the continent’s raw materials and natural resources, as they are key to driving manufacturing and industrialization.

MITC’s France Mavuso expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Education & Training, the Ministry of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs and UNDP Eswatini.

He further implored all the partners and the country at large to ensure that they support the graduates.

“We, therefore request the Construction Industry Council, and other relevant partners to open their hands and assist these graduates to get the necessary experience and afford them business opportunities.”

The Mayor of Ezulwini Bongile Mbingo who represented the Ezulwini Municipality said as a Municipality such a programme is highly essential as it forms part of their Local Economic Development Strategy.

She echoed Mavuso sentiments regarding offering the graduates internships and employment opportunities. ‘We are aware that most companies always require experience from prospective employees. This is why I urge companies in the country to offer the graduates internship opportunities so they may gain the much needed experience.”

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