MASVINGO – A total of 588 students have graduated in the Traditional Apprentice Programme (TAP), a study which is unique because of its emphasis on entrepreneurship and survival skills.
The programme takes one year and the graduation ceremony was at Masvingo Polytechnic where Masvingo businessman Stanley Kondongwe was the guest of honour. The programme was introduced in 2009 and this was the first group to be capped.
Speaking at the graduation, acting Masvingo Poly principal Evans Musara said that graduands are equipped with entrepreneurial skills to start their own businesses in line with Government's ZIMASSET programme.
"TAP which is the main mode of training is a derivative of technical vocational education and training as well as Competence Based Education and Training (CBET). The programme focuses on the provision of survival skills and competencies to participants. All trainees go through the start your business programme (SYB) which equips them with skills to start and operate a business.
"The blending of skills proffered under the CBET model of training and entrepreneurial skills through the SYB presents a perfect cocktail for success to unprecedented levels and these graduands have established business ventures in both the formal and informal sector of the economy," said Musara.
The graduates trained in various practical courses which included hairdressing, cosmetology, dressmaking, Early Childhood Development, tourism and hospitality, horticulture, motor mechanics, carpentry and joinery, computers and construction. Most of them are self-employed now and operating in the informal sector.
The graduation was held under the theme, 'Training for Self Sustanance and Enterprise Development'.
Kondongwe said the informal sector in Zimbabwe employs 80% of the working population therefore there must be well defined strategies to develop the sector like the training being offered at Masvingo Polytechnic.
"According to the 2013 Africa Development Bank report informal sector contributes about 55% of the sub Saharan African countries' GDP and 80% of jobs in Zimbabwe.
"There is need to create links between the formal and the informal sector. It is essential to continue reviewing the training offered, by benchmarking it with global trends and this will ensure that good services offered in the informal sector are top notch," said Kondongwe who is a former student of the institution.
The graduation was attended by two directors from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Christopher Mudzingwa and Willard Chinhandavata, Masvingo Polytechnic advisory board chairman Zvavapano Munganasa and his vice Margaret Chakabuda and several lecturers from other institutions of higher learning.