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Tanzania turns work into skill

‘Young people with an economic perspective are essential for social and political stability’

Youth unemployment in Tanzania is huge and yet the economy itself is growing. In the building industry, for instance, there’s a huge demand for highly skilled workers. With PUM’s help, Arusha Technical College now works with an employers’ association so that supply better meets demand.

Tanzania’s population pyramid shows the country is having a young working population. It’s therefore vital that new jobs are created and entrepreneurship stimulated. After all, young people with an economic perspective are essential for social and political stability. And it takes away the motivation to migrate.

Need for quality

In 2013, PUM invited a delegation of Tanzanian building contractors to the Netherlands. An excursion to a building and construction education programme in Utrecht was the inspiration for the new partnership. During a mission to Tanzania, PUM expert Wim Bredewold came up with the idea of partnering Arusha Technical College (ATC) with the business community. ‘At the time, I was working as a PUM expert on various training programmes at ATC. We got in touch with the Association of Citizen Contractors Tanzania (ACCT), a trade association with some 250 small and medium-sized businesses in the construction industry. They were desperate for highly skilled workers.’

Wim Bredewold worked in senior secondary vocational education in Utrecht until his retirement in 2010. Since then he has been working for PUM as an expert in education-business collaboration.

Demand and supply

A lot of workers in the construction industry in Tanzania haven’t actually had any training. These so-called fundis have taught themselves the trade but therefore often don’t have knowledge of basic techniques, planning and materials. And there’s little consideration for safety regulations, so there are a lot of accidents. Wim: ‘In order to improve the quality of the tradesmen, it’s essential that supply and demand are better aligned. With PUM’s support, ACT and ACCT have set up a training programme in which fundis receive training from PUM experts. The project is supported financially by Dutch companies and the Fund for Training and Entrepreneurship (CCHO).’

‘Tanzania is desperate for highly skilled workers’

Train the trainer

The programme comprises four training periods of 14 days spread out over 3 years. Wim: ‘At the moment, there are about 30 fundis being trained by PUM experts in plumbing, painting, plastering and tiling. In addition to basic techniques and use of materials, we also look at aspects such as safety at work, the environment, planning and entrepreneurship. And we look at education and presentation techniques. Our aim is to teach these professionals to be trainers themselves. In this way, the training programme not only improves quality in the existing market but also increases the number of new young tradesmen.’

PUM expert Ruud van den Hoven teaches the plumbing course - ‘Most of the students in my group have already been working for years as a plumber, but it’s exactly because of all this experience that they mainly have to learn what not to do. In my course, we go right back to the basics, from sawing a pipe to size to making good glue connections and using the right attachments. Step by step, I teach them the basic techniques. Fortunately, everyone is incredibly eager to learn and progress is fast. And I can see in everything they do that they’re happy; they’re finally getting answers to the questions they have. My colleague PUM experts Hans Goes (plastering) and Chris Bouhuijzen (painting) and I developed the curriculum together and we’ve made sure that the necessary materials and tools have been bought.’

Masudi Senzia is deputy head at Arusha Technical College (ATC) - According to Dr Senzia, it’s essential that ATC and employers work well together. ‘By matching supply to demand, skilled young workers are practically guaranteed work when they finish their education. And the way this is set up means there’s also a much-needed incentive to improve quality in the building industry. ATC gave an old building to the programme and it’s now been renovated by ACCT and equipped with practical training rooms, classrooms, changing rooms and storerooms. The PUM experts developed the curriculum and teach practical classes in which they also look at entrepreneurship. What’s more, PUM helped find the funds needed for buying training materials and tools.’