The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) has urged firms in the country to open up their doors to the youth by giving them opportunities for internships to gain the much needed experience.
Ecam President, Emmanuel Banda, said this in Blantyre yesterday during a breakfast meeting with chief executive officers of various companies who are members of Ecam.
The call comes at a time when youth unemployment is on the rise in Malawi with graduates spending an average of over a year before getting a job.
Banda said Malawi is part of the Global Apprenticeship Network (Gan) which has an overarching goal of encouraging and linking business initiatives on skills and employment opportunities for the youth, notably through apprenticeships.
He said more and more firms need to join the Gan which provides a platform where private sector companies, businesses federations and associations come together to share best practices to advocate and commit to action around the youth employability and skills development.
Banda described industry as best universities through which the youth could acquire the much needed skills needed by firms.
According to the Malawi Labour Force Survey of 2013 conducted by the National Statistical Office, about 73 percent of youth aged between15-24 were employed.
The report also showed that male youths were more likely to be employed than their female counterparts.
The report also showed that there were higher employment rates among the youth in rural area than in urban areas.
According to a member of Ecam, Michael Khomani, currently only eight of all the firms operating in Malawi have subscribed to the
The firms include Total Malawi, Stansfield Motors, PTC, The Malawi Polytechnic, Chibuku Products Limited and others.
Khomani said Ecam intends to officially launch the Gan on March 31 this year and expressed hope that many firms will join by then.
“We would like to see all the big companies in Malawi joining the Gan. The benefits will be massive for Malawi,” said Khomani.
Total Malawi Managing Director, Seggie Kistasamy, said his firm has a number of initiatives aimed at equipping the youth with the necessary skills to hit the ground running in industry.
During the meeting, Old Mutual Malawi Acting Managing Director, Edith Jiya, said firms in the country stand to benefit a lot if they take part in the top employer’s awards organised by Ecam.
Jiya said the initiative helps businesses to learn from counterparts on how to improve the working environment and retain quality staff.