Find out why skilling for school & colleges is a prerequisite for a skilled Africa

“Vocational education programs have made a real difference in the lives of countless young people nationwide; they build self-confidence and leadership skills by allowing students to utilize their unique gifts and talents.”

Conrad Burns

African countries have done well in the formal education domain. Students who excel in studies look only for mainstream education so that they can go on to make their career in professions which are respected and pay handsomely. Parents too expect their children to get white collar jobs which could go well with their social and economic status. This tendency or preference for formal education has led to a severe shortage of skilled manpower in African countries.

Governments and societies across Africa are yet to fully realize the implications of this lack of focus on promoting and developing vocational education in Africa. The industries, however, have begun to suffer on account of the increasingly shrinking pool of skilled labor and professionals.

Though some countries in the African continent put in sincere efforts to reach out to their youth and skill them in various job-oriented trades, large-scale developments are needed to build a skilled Africa which could take on the challenges of the 21st global marketplace which is increasingly dominated by technical and vocational talent.

Political will is possibly the most needed element to transform the vocational education in Africa . Governments need to adopt a holistic approach towards the sector which has been neglected for all these years. Skilling for school & colleges has to be at the core of government initiatives. If a change is needed, it better begins at the school level.

Experienced vocational course/program providers can be brought on board to develop customized vocational courses for school and colleges. Trainers from the same companies can be hired to impart the programs and skill the youth; by the time they would graduate or pass out from their schools, they would have the basic understanding of one or more trades with which they would be able to enter the job market or pursue higher programs in the similar trades.

There is a need to reach out to parents as well so that they do not force their children to pursue subjects they do not find interesting or feel like taking up as a career. Parents need to be educated on the increasing demand of skilled manpower and the abundance of opportunities that are brimming in the vocational skill domain.

It’s only through coordinated efforts that Africa can dream big and join the economies that would rule the marketplace in the coming decades. And those coordinated efforts must begin early.

Africa has all the resources needed to take on a leadership position in the global marketplace. However, it would require a growing force of skilled manpower which could take up job roles in the emerging as well as existing industries to drive the African economy forward day in and day out. For more on vocational education in Africa or skilling for school & colleges, please read our other articles.