The Minister of Labour, Skills and Innovation Martha Lunji Chanjo says skilled labour force is the engine of socio-economic development of the country.

The Minister said this during the official opening of TEVET principals’ forum organised by the European Union funded Skills and Technical Education Programme, which is partially implemented by UNESCO.

“No country can develop if its citizens are not well skilled,” noted the minister.

She told the gathering that in order to ensure that many young people acquire survival skills, the government is introducing community technical colleges in addition to existing national technical colleges.

“The purpose of introducing these colleges is to ensure that all youth regardless of their social background are able to access technical and vocational skills,” she indicated.

She advised managers for TEVET institutions to ensure that no youth is denied access to technical and vocational training.

She requested International Organizations, Development Partners and well-wishers to join hands with government and TEVET Authority in promoting skills development.

Chanjo thanked the European Union for supporting skills development through STEP as well as providing state of art training equipment in some public TEVET institutions.

“Let me assure European Union that government of Malawi will ensure that the support provided benefits as many Malawians as possible by safeguarding the equipment. However, the government may need further support in teacher training considering that the country does not have a technical teacher training college,” she concluded.

The five-day meeting took place in Blantyre and over 70 principals from both private and public colleges attended the meeting.

Apart from the Minister, the Principal Secretary, Joseph Mwandidya, and the Team Leader for STEP, Arthur Shears also graced the occasion and thanked all the principals for attending the meeting.

Shears said the main objective of STEP is to empower the TEVET sector and its capacity to satisfy the economy’s need for professionals through improvement of equitable and gender-balanced TEVET in Malawi.

Among other things, principals were trained in corporate governance and principles of using modern management information systems.