Lack of youth skills cause of poverty – Mwale

 GOVERNMNET says Zambians’ appetite for white collar jobs has greatly contributed to poverty in the country as most graduates from colleges and universities lack skills which they can use in an event that they do not find jobs anywhere.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Child Development Vincent Mwale said it was sad that about 82 per cent of the Zambian youth, most of whom were unemployed as college and university graduates, lacked the requisite work attributes.

Mr. Mwale was speaking yesterday when he launched the joint Federation of Employers (ZFE)/International Labour Organisation (ILO’s) Internship Pilot Programme at the Golf View Hotel in Lusaka.

He noted that the transition from school to work could be difficult especially where it had been realised that there was a gap between the skills being imparted in training and the skills required in the industry.

“It is sad that in Zambia, most of our youths want to study courses which do not give them any skills which can help them to acquire skills which they can use in an event that they cannot find formal employment and this is where the problem is.

‘‘Most of them want to pursue business administration, public administration.. but how many of these business and public administrators do we need in Zambia?” Mr. Mwale said.

He said the partnership between ZFE and ILO to bridge the gap by providing internship to students who were out of tertiary institutions was commendable because it would provide an opportunity to prospective employees to acquire the skills which they may not have acquired from various institutions.

And ZFE president Tyson Chisambo said the internship programme would help prepare prospective employees with skills that employers were looking for, thereby smoothening the transition period from school into the labour market. Mr. Chisambo said his organisation was indebted to ILO for the financial support to make the programme a success while praising Government for creating an enabling environment for its operations.

ILO representative John Banda said youth employment was a social justice issue which should be taken seriously because if youths did not find jobs, that amounted to injustice to the plight of the youths.