No better illustration for the problem of the Zambian labour market than raw statistics. By year end 2017 41 percent of the Zambian workforce was either unemployed or qualified as a member of the ‘potential workforce’. At the same time Zambian businesses can’t find the people to do the work they have available, especially when it comes to jobs that require a ‘craft’.
What to do about this mismatch on the labour market – this ‘skills gap’? That is the question that DECP’s skills expert Jos van Erp and special advisor Jannes van der Velde tried to answer during a fact finding mission in July 2019. Speaking to key figures from the Zambian business community, educational sector and government, some fundamental explanations became evident. The key players do not meet enough. They hardly exchange points of view, challenges they experience, key figures and other relevant information. Fixing this by putting a simple and hands on dialogue into place should be top priority, according to Van Erp and Van der Velde.
Furthermore they gave ideas about (pilot) projects involving government, businesses and colleges to improve the national curricula, e.g. by making colleges and businesses co-responsible for the educational programmes.
In the months July, August and September ZFE is organising a series of meetings with members and players from the educational field to try and come to a shared understanding of the labour market problems. That should create the first commitment to follow a path likewise to the one suggested by DECP.
Business representatives of the Copperbelt province discuss skills development with DECP experts