Transformational Training in the Copperbelt

Our vocational training project with Kabushi Entrepreneurship and Vocational Training Centre (KEVTC) is empowering young entrepreneurs from female headed households. Through a tailored training programme, these young women will be equipped with the necessary skills to build and grow their enterprises and gain financial security.

Against a challenging economic background in Zambia, with one of the highest levels of poverty and inequality globally, and a disproportionate number of women in rural areas facing unemployment and living below the poverty line, our project is providing a vital opportunity.

Drawing participants from five semi-urban and rural communities surrounding Ndola, 30 women  are undertaking a robust programme of technical training, complemented by a holistic package of business skills, literacy and numeracy training and sexual health and reproductive rights training. Project trainees are aged between 18 and 24 years old, and the 12- month project has been specifically designed with the young mothers’ needs in mind.

Breaking barriers through technical skills

The World Bank predicts sustained growth in the services and construction sectors which is expected to benefit the rural poor and reverse the recent increase in urban poverty. Our project participants are taking on vocational training in Tailoring, Hairdressing and Cosmetology which aims to support young women who are also vulnerable to the increased competition for employment amongst Zambia’s disproportionally young population.

Many of the thirty young women on the course have faced barriers through early pregnancies and lack of education. Unfortunately, most of the women didn’t have any savings or means of earning an income prior to joining our project. However, their tenacity to succeed is clear and KEVTC are delighted with the progress the women are making. It seems the women are already building their career paths.

 

Violet Mukosha is training in tailoring

Design, Cutting & Tailoring

Fifteen women are studying Design, Cutting & Tailoring and six months into the project they are mastering skills in fabric cutting and garment construction, stitching and hemming techniques and are using a variety of different textiles to create a range of garments. Additionally, they are taught garment fitting and alteration techniques to ensure a perfect fit for their clients – essential in a highly competitive market.

Tailoring trainees will also produce 50 free school uniforms to be given to vulnerable children at the end of the year. Children will be precluded from school until they have uniforms, something those living in poverty cannot afford. The trainee tailors will not only support children into education but help to hone and showcase their skills, giving them the potential to earn future contracts.

 

Clara Mulenga is training in Hairdressing & Cosmetology

Hairdressing & Cosmetology

The remaining women are studying for Hairdressing & Cosmetology qualifications. They are acquiring a large range of technical skills including hair styling, cutting, and hair care, and the use of professional equipment, skincare, makeup application, and nail care. Participants will also gain skills in manicure and pedicure, nail art, and proper nail care practices which is proving a growing market for the women to enter.  One trainee excelling in her studies is Clara.

 

Read more about Clara and Violet and their growth throughout the course.

 

Equipping trainees for the market place

It is vital that the participants learn additional skills over and above technical skills to stand out in a highly competitive market with chronic underemployment of women in the region. Business skills training will train participants in vital skills such as understanding profit and loss, budgeting and forecasting, marketing, marketplace assessment, customer acquisition and retention and adaptive business strategies. Trainees will also learn about funding options and how to develop compelling business proposals to secure financial support which is aimed to support graduates’ long term and sustainable success.

By the end of the project, the women will be equipped to showcase their creativity, professionalism, and expertise, and be best positioned to establish their own business based on their vocational skill set or becoming freelance professionals.

 

Into the future

Each student will sit a nationally recognised trade exam, offering a standardized measure of competence and serve as a benchmark for employers, industry stakeholders, and educational institutions to assess the readiness of students for the workforce or further education.

Due to the lack of income and capital to invest in their business, trainees will form small working groups which will each receive a start-up grant upon graduation, every trainee will receive a kit of locally sourced equipment to support their chosen trade. This will provide the springboard for long-term business success.

We look forward to sharing more stories of success from this project. To sign up for all our latest project updates, please click here.

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June 2024

 

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