The Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) on June 5, 2021 graduated 61 youths from across Malawi in three categories of small scale mining and mineral processing, ceramics and quarrying.
The youths were attached as incubates to the university under the Jobs for Youth (J4Y) project that is run by the Ministry of Youth and Sports with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
This was the second graduation of incubates in these fields with the first one taking place some three weeks ago in Dedza.
Addressing the graduating incubates, MUST Vice Chancellor Professor Address Malata, advised the youths not to work alone but join cooperatives or form associations as through that, they learn more and share knowledge and skills.
“Remember to be professional in your business endeavors, be honest, be accountable and transparent in your dealings. If you lack good business behavior, no amount of quality products will give you success,” she said.
“Be focused, do not do everything. Focus on an area where you have expertise and where you think there is good market. Make sure quality is your priority and not quantity. Start small and slowly grow your business. Do not rush for quick results.”
Professor malate also hailed the partnership that was there during the training of the incubates where stakeholders such as Ministry of Youths and Sports, Ministry of Mining and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (SMEDI).
“We are ready to work in partnerships with any institutions that shares our vision of science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. In the case of SMEDI, we would be happy to learn one or two things from your food processing plant and you can also utilize the space in our industrial park which is under construction. We can also run joint programmes,” said Professor Malata.
Responding to the incubates’ concern that the training was too short they skipped some stages in mineral processing and ceramics production, Professor Malata asked Ministry of Youth and Sports to support the youth so that they go through the entire processes.
“It will not help us if they leave without completing the whole process. The Ministry may also consider supporting these youths with some starter packs such as tools and equipment which they can use to kick-start their businesses. I believe that that way, their newly acquired skills will benefit Malawi,” she said.
The incubates did most of their practical skills development at SMEDI in Mponela where the graduation ceremony was also held.
A representative from Ministry of Youth and Sports, Deus Lipenga, who is chief youth officer, said this was the most comprehensive and organized training in the year under the project.
Lipenga advised the youths to stand out and bring change in their communities.
On his part, Chief Geologist, Charles Missi said it was pleasing that the training was in line with government’s plans to develop the mining sector and make it the country’s economic backbone.
“For this to materialize, we will need people with the right skills and knowledge to add value to our mineral resources so that they attract more money on the market. And the youth are better placed to champion this initiative,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the host, SMEDI director of Business, Edward Chilima thanked MUST for partnering with them in the project, saying this has raised the profile of their institution.
Chilima said SMEDI has skills and equipment that can benefit many youths in Malawi and working in partnerships could accelerate this process.
The J4Y project has seen youths across Malawi acquiring skills in various areas of development such as ICT and agriculture and all incubates were attached to institutions in line with their area of training.