The Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) says Malawi has a huge gap between what training institutions are offering and what the industry needs, a situation which has been blamed for worsening productivity at national level, among others.
CfSC conditions and research officer Alex Nkosi also noted on Monday that there is an urgent need for Malawi to address the â€˜skills mismatchâ€™ as a way of narrowing the gap between training institutions and industry requirements.
Said Nkosi: â€œThere is a de-link between what training institutions offer and what the industry wants. Thus, addressing skill mismatches is another pivotal element.â€
His statement comes at a time Malawi is hosting a high-level 2012 International Vocational Education and Training Association (Iveta) conference this week, which, among others, will discuss the widening gap between training institutions and industry needs.
It also comes when a 2012 International Labour Office report on global employment trends for youth shows that youth unemployment is on the increase worldwide.
Global youth unemployment rate, which was pegged at 12.6 per cent in 2011, has been projected at 12.7 percent in 2012.
Nkosi argued that such a mismatch between industry and institutions has resulted in failure on the part of industries to recruit young people on the basis that they lack appropriate skills and experience.
â€œTo link these two, Malawi should consider introducing a robust internship or apprenticeship programme for the youths in training institutions,â€ he said.
Nkosi also suggested that industries should be encouraged to take on board a number of interns and get tax-breaks equivalent to the internship allowance and associated costs that the industries would incur.
Nkosi described the youth as â€˜a vast human resource potentialâ€™ which he said if properly nurtured and tapped can contribute positively to personal and national development.
â€œCurrently, the many youth in Malawi are trapped in low productivity, temporary or other types of work that fall short of their aspirations and that often do not open opportunities to move to more permanent, higher productivity and better-paid positions,â€ he added.
He, however, urged government to fast-track the approval of the National Employment and Labour Policy, speed up the approval of the reviewed National Youth Policy and also mainstream labour issues in Malawiâ€™s development plans.
Nkosi also pressed for the need to integrate entrepreneurship in training programmes to enable the graduating youth to aspire to create jobs.
President Joyce Banda said in her State-of-the Nation Address in May that youth development and empowerment is essential for socioeconomic growth and development of Malawi.
The President said in the 2012/2013 fiscal year, government will continue to offer entrepreneurial and livelihood skills to the youths and invest in youth through various vocational and entrepreneurial skills.