Vocational training for the community

Installing the injection pump Leo Ishuna and Namholo Erickson students at the Shikalepo Mechanical and Engineering Vocational and skills Centre. (Photograph by Jenny Sitole)

Shikalepo Mechanical and Engineering Vocational and Skills Centre is hard at work providing intensive, practical and theoretical training through workshop practices to disadvantaged, school leavers, semi skilled industrial workforce within the community of Hakana in Katutura.

The institution which is registered under the Namibia Training Institution as well as the Ministry Of Trade and Industry issues out trainee certificates to those who would have complete their programmes. The Vocational centre was opened 2011 by Rabby Shikatepo due to the youth that were just idling around especially high school drop outs. Despite being small the institution currently has 40 students  in training a mix of men and women. Said Shikatepo, “trainees are provided with physical training material, equipment and tools such as engines, manual and automatic gearboxes,steering boxes and practical motor vehicle components. The students attain their technical and theory qualification through levels of 1 to 3. depending on the course.” “Once the students have written the trade test preparation examination and passed they will become full fledged mechanics,” she added. Saima Nghoshni an instructor and qualified mechanic at the centre said, “the intense training of these students is 6 to 10 months depending on what level the students are doing. And once the students have successfully completed the training they are provided with job attachments of their choice, whether they want to be in the private or public sector.” The institution promotes education, employment and more especially women empowerment.  Nghoshni always encourages the students to challenge men in their fields, as she feels that if men can do it so can a women. Nghoshni herself has been in the mechanic field for 12 years hence she is the best female instructor at the centre. “Gone are the days were a women could not fix a car,” she said.