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Experts bang heads on growing unemployment

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By Chimwemwe Mangazi:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has tipped stakeholders in the labour industry to hold hands to avert challenges that are exacerbating the high unemployment levels in the country.

This came out at the start of a two-day conference in Lilongwe involving stakeholders from East, Central and Southern Africa under the theme, the Future of Work; Responsive Skills for Decent Work and Sustainable Development, organised by the Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam).

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ILO Senior Specialist for Employers Activities, Maria Machailo-Ellis, noted that among the challenges facing the labour industry is the mismatch between what the industry wants and the capabilities that university graduates have.

She said there is need for various stakeholders to ensure there are significant investments in people’s capabilities especially in the transition from school to work and from work to retirement.

“What has been observed is that there is mismatch between what the school is dishing out as graduates and what the industry requires in terms of the skills and this is exacerbated by the fact that the world of work is experiencing a lot of changes due to technology advancement, climate change and globalization among other,” Machailo-Ellis said.

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Ecam Executive Director, George Khaki, concurred with Machailo-Ellis but was quick to state that it is the same reason they organised the conference for stakeholders to bang heads.

He said that in terms of rights at the work place Malawi has done well with the employment Act, Labour Relations Act and pensions Act in place.

“In terms of skills development, I would say we are on the right path with the community colleges programme. Going to higher education sector we have seen that government has liberalised provision of higher education services but we still have problems in the basic education provision,” Khaki said.

A representative of the International Organisation for Employers, Lameck Jaston, added that the population of any country is comprised of more youth and, therefore, they should be included in such discussions to come up with labour solutions that accommodate them.

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