Youth benefit from B2Gold sponsorship

Empowering marginalised communities

11 September 2019 | Education

Arandis • Otis Finck

B2Gold Namibia handed over a sponsorship for the training of twelve students at the Building and Civil Trade campus of the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) at Arandis earlier today.

The sponsorship of N$108 000 covers accommodation and registration fees of the trainees who hail from Otavi. The beneficiaries registered for courses in clothing production (eight), plumbing (two), welding (one) and boiler making (one). The boiler making course takes four years, while the others are 6-month specialised training courses.

B2Gold’s Ignasius /Awaseb said the company was honoured to extend a helping hand to the students. “Vocational training plays a critical role in the upliftment of our nation. The recipients were selected by NIMT based on merit. B2Gold is just a vehicle that the trainees can use to make their journey to employment shorter. We provide the assistance and resources, but it ultimately comes down to the recipients capitalising on the opportunity presented to them.”

He urged the trainees to become good at what they are doing. “You will be competing against many other skilled persons once you’re qualified. Make sure that you are worthy of claiming a position at B2Gold.”

Opportunities abound

NIMT Arandis acting executive director Ralph Bussel welcomed the sponsorship, saying it goes a long way towards enabling the institution to reach out to young people from marginalised communities.

“B2Gold offers an opportunity for the youth not able to afford training. It’s also important to bring opportunities to people in places where there are virtually none. This program aimed at school leavers, kicked off on 2 September and is the first of its kind. Many vocational training centres do not cater for this category of youngsters. They also do not make provision for special practical training courses like the ones provided by NIMT.”

Bussel said those doing the welding and boiler making courses stand a chance of being employed by B2Gold, while the candidates of the clothing production course would become self-employed. He urged them to continue training until they become fully fledged artisans.

“The advantage is that this particular group of trainees have the opportunity to enter the job market. Formal trainees do their NTC levels 1, 2 and 3 trade tests which enable them to reach management status. Participants with 4 years of practical work experience can eventually qualify to become artisans with equal status as a formally trained artisan by completing a trade test.”

He challenged other companies to emulate the example set by B2Gold, urging the sponsorship recipients to make good use of this opportunity.
“Mining companies and other industry players in the area need to come on board. They basically only offer job attachments without any direct financial support structure in place. The majority of artisans employed at mines are NIMT trainees. In the past, the mining sector availed full bursaries. This is no longer the case.”

Bussel said companies argue that they are doing more than enough by contributing the required 1% to the Training Levy Fund.

“[However] NIMT has never benefitted because there is no direct input.
Companies can claim back up to 50% of the amount they spend on training. It’s a fact that businesses are cutting costs in this tough economic environment, while we should actually invest in having a capable workforce when the good times return. If not, we will be forced to import workers.”

Bussel said that a group of 110 NIMT produced artisans and trainees were engaged in the construction phase of the B2Gold mine approximately 5 years ago.

“Due to the quality of the workmanship, the project was completed before its due date and the group went to Mali and Burkina Faso where they worked on construction projects for B2Gold. We can proudly say that NIMT students are well prepared, highly skilled and recognised internationally.”

NIMT trainees are currently constructing 20 classrooms at a cost of N$400 000 per block for two classrooms for the Khomas Regional Council through the Ministry of Education. “The advantage is that government saves money especially in these tough economic times, while the students obtain exposure. We have 25 students involved as electricians, boilermakers, plumbers, carpenters and bricklayers, and expect to finish the construction process by the end of February 2020.”

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