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Employers, academia differ on skills mismatch

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George Khaki

The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) has reiterated that some graduates from the country’s colleges and universities lack necessary skills to ably fit into the job market, a development that is exacerbating unemployment among the youth.

The view, has however, been challenged by members of the academia who believe that it has only become an excuse not to give the jobs to the youth.

This came out during a recent programme on Times Television where experts were discussing the status of youth unemployment in the country.

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Ecam Chief Executive Officer George Khaki said skills mismatch remains a problem when it comes to recruiting graduates.

“There are a number of challenges. The skills that the graduates have are not necessarily what we, in the industry, are looking for. So, when you are not looking for someone who will learn on the job, you employ someone with experience.

“Also, with the slow-down in business due to Covid, we are having to lay off the youth more than those that have vast experience in the industry,” Khaki said.

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Polytechnic-based lecturer Betchani Tchereni, however, argued that the country’s colleges are still producing the relevant workforce that the industry needs.

He gave an example of civil engineers, teachers and nurses that are jobless despite their services still being on high demand in the country.

“At The Polytechnic, every graduate has gone through a six-month internship in the industry and when coming up with a programme, stakeholders including those from the industry are consulted to have relevant aspects covered in the programme; so, we have made the skills mismatch an excuse but it is not true,” Tchereni said.

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