In assisting the Malawi Government in providing skills training to the youth, Ethanol Company Limited (EthCo) has donated an old 700 Kilo Volt Ampere(KVA) generator, valued at K5 million, to be used for training at Salima Technical College.
According to EthCo Operations Manager Mr. Derek Zamaere, the company decided to make the donation to provide a chance to trainees to reduce the knowledge and skills gaps they are currently having when they reach the workplace.
“We saw a need in the area of matching the skills and knowledge that trainees acquire in college to what they are actually expected to do at the workplace. This machine is therefore to be used for practical, hands-on training, to allow trainees to learn what the industry expects them to do instead of just seeing equipment in pictures,” he said.
Zamaere added that by donating to technical colleges actual equipment used in the industry, companies will spend less time providing on-the-job training to new recruits as well as students on attachment.
“We have had scenarios where trainees know about a machine through pictures but have not worked on it hands-on. In such scenarios, the company invests time and resources training the trainees or new recruits on-the-job thereby losing productive time in the long run. This donation is hence in line with a Creative Shared Value (CSV) philosophy that the Company is currently entrenching. By ensuring improved skills of students through hands on training while in school, the Company will gain economic value through improved productivity as its workforce will not spend time and resources training students or new recruits on the job as their skills will match with what we need,” he said.
Zamaere highlighted that they felt duty bound to assist the TEVET sector as the sector through its TEVET training institutions is a long term partner of the Company having collaborated on so many training programs as well as the ethanol driven vehicle project a few years ago.
Receiving the donation, Principal for Salima Technical College, Mr. Freeman Kalilani appreciated the donation and said it will assist in the fulfillment of the requirements of the Automobile Mechanics and General Fitting courses that his college offers.
“Automobile Mechanics trainees will use this machine for practicing diesel fitting while General Fitting trainees will use the machine for plant maintenance by making parts that have been damaged,” he said.
He said trainees on attachment or graduates employed will be more confident to handle a machine of this type since having worked on a similar machine before, they would already have acquired knowledge of its ins and outs.
TEVET Regional Service Centre Manager for the centre, Mrs Conceptor Kachoka said the work of TEVET Authority thrives on partnerships and commended what Ethanol Company Limited had done in assisting the TEVET sector.
“The government has made TEVET a tool for reducing unemployment for both the rural and urban population. Government strives to provide all necessary training equipment for quality training but it cannot do this alone. We therefore thank EthCo for the spirit of partnership displayed in this donation and we assure you this generator will be put to fruitful use,” she said.
Kachoka informed EthCo that it should be free to inform the Authority if it has more pieces of equipment that can help trainees get a feel of the real world of work in the trade they are pursuing.
She appealed to other companies to emulate the gesture done by EthCo as through such initiatives the TEVET sector will produce apprentices that are relevant to the labour market.
Ethanol Company Limited (EthCo) was established in 1982 in response to the 1970 energy crisis. The Company is the pioneer of molasses based ethanol production in Malawi. Since its inception in 1982, the Company has produced well over 350 million litres of ethanol at both 99.5%v/v and 96%v/v ethanol strength.