Vocational skills training for a better tomorrow
DAPP Malawi’s Mikolongwe Vocational School provides vocational and life skills training to local Malawian school leavers, orphans and underprivileged youths who have not been absorbed by government and private training colleges.
Through the practical training programs they acquire necessary skills to create the foundation to become economically productive either in formal employment or self-employment. From the initial three programs at establishment in 1997, Mikolongwe Vocational School has developed into having several training courses.
The school is currently offering the following courses, Financial Accounting, Agriculture, Plumbing & Wash Technician, Bricklaying, Carpentry, Community Development, Welding & Fabrication, Textile & Fashion Designing, Beauty & Hairdressing, and Renewable Energy & Electrical Installation.
In all courses entrepreneur ship, financial literacy and basic business management are integrated as a strategy to build the capacity of the students to start up their own businesses.
The Mikolongwe Vocational School training program is divided into two categories formal and informal training. The formal training program targets the youth who completed secondary school education and possess a Malawi School Certificate of Education Certificate (MSCE) as entry qualification. The informal training program is offering basic training on livelihood to many young vulnerable and underprivileged youth from remote areas where access to education is a challenge.
Notable impact has been felt from the school’s training program. Hundreds of students are supporting their own lives from income from various trades they have got trained in, the school has expanded its training programs from e to 10. Out-reach training sessions are offered to many vulnerable but deserving youths in marginalized settings.
As a result of the all-round training of the students the majority - more than 75% of them - successfully venture into small businesses and thus do not only depend on being employed. Furthermore, the graduated students have created employment. The graduated students are a source of inspiration to other youth.
Through the project implementation, the project has strengthened and increased access to loans from micro finance lending through the Opportunity Bank of Malawi (OBM) which has been providing soft loans to Mikolongwe Vocational School graduates to improve their businesses. Currently 75% of students have managed to open their Masomphenya savings account. Successful engagement with micro financing especially for youth and vulnerable groups has been a great challenge in Malawi and these graduated students therefore are good examples for other financial institutions.
The school equipped students with life skills that enable the young people to be self reliant, innovative and critical thinkers. The skills have helped the students to improve their general living standards. The students are empowered to take initiatives in fostering community development as agents of change. This has helped the students to conduct environmental campaigns on global warming.
The school enrolls annually 185 students for the formal training programs. The number of informal students varies depending on donors requesting such training. The students come from all parts of Malawi.