Although Botswana has made significant progress as one of the countries that have achieved the highest rate of economic growth in the world for the past decade, the pace at which the graduates in the country are absorbed into the economy remains a major challenge.
This was raised by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Peter Siele, recently in Francistown during the National Internship: Mining, Manufacturing and Energy Pitso meeting he held with the private sector.
“The rate at which the economy absorbs graduates has been slow due to our small economic base, lack of experience and, to some extent, mismatch between skills development and actual job requirements,” he said.
Among the issues he raised, the Minister said that despite the fact that Francistown is blessed with large scale manufacturing industries and mines, employers are still finding it difficult to recruit their workforce locally which has always resulted in conflicts between management and citizen employees, adding that such situations can only be resolved if the government together with the private sector hasten their relationship to work together in equipping locals with the requisite skills and experience.
“Evidence shows that the countries that are doing well economically derive their competitive advantage from the availability of skilled and knowledgeable workforce, and the high level of technological advancement,” Siele said.
The Minister said that although the government has tried to address such a situation by introducing the National Internship Programme, there is a higher need by the private sector to partner with government and share on how they can deal with the problem. He said that through dialogue they can generate ideas, strategies and thoughts on how to transform the human capital in order to align skills with the needs of the industry.
The meeting was held under the theme “Digging skills and knowledge for economic growth and development.”
The objective was to address crucial issues related to human resource development for employment through dialogue and sharing of ideas with the private sector. The various issues that were touched upon include the skills and experience requirements for various sectors concerned and how best the private sector can partner with the National Internship Programme to enhance the availability of the people with the required skills and experience.