The European Union (EU) says it is committed to support young people in Malawi to be educated and receive quality skills training.

Programme Manager for Education at the EU delegation to Malawi, Lena Veierskov said this recently during the graduation of students at YipMade Vocational Skills Centre being run by Music Crossroads Malawi.

She says that the EU has dedicated approximately K142 billion to support secondary education and vocational education and training in Malawi from 2014-2020.

“As part of this support, we are implementing the Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP) which has the objective to strengthen Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Training (TEVET) in Malawi in order to increase the quality and volume of the skilled workforce and thereby contribute to the economic development of the country,” she says.

Veierskov adds, “This objective will be achieved by focusing on increasing access to TEVET by constructing and equipping 40 state of the art workshops across the country; by improving the relevance and quality of technical training; and by improving the management and governance of the training institutions and of TEVET sector as a whole.  Moreover, the EU is providing grants to training centres like Music Crossroads to support training of vulnerable youth”

She says as part of STEP, they are also focusing on attracting more women to technical training and especially on ensuring that the technical colleges provide a safe and gender sensitive environment for the training.

“As such, codes of conduct for both trainers and students have been developed and gender awareness training has been conducted. It is crucial that technical training institutions are safe learning environments for all the students-both male and female.

Forty-three students have graduated at Music Crossroads’ YiPmade vocational skills centre after undergoing a four-month intensive training course in fabrication and welding, tailoring, fashion and designing as well as creative arts.