China has announced that it has set aside US$50 million for the construction of a vocational training centre in Zambia to address skills gaps in the mining sector The training centre will be constructed at Chambeshi Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ).
The training centre will target school-leavers taking up mining engineering courses.China Non-ferrous Metal Mining group director of training Liang Chimin said the centre will begin construction in 2018.
Explaining on the motivation behind the vocational training centre, Mr Chimin said that the booming mining industry in Zambia and other capital intensive investments that call for skilled labour.
“The Chinese government wants to build a vocational college to address the skills gap in mining companies. The college will enrol grade 12 school-leavers who will be employed in Chinese mining companies, and once they complete their education, they will be offered jobs in those firms,” he said.
The vocational training centre in Zambia has been enabled by the China Aid to Africa a Chinese initiative aimed at boosting bilateral trade and development on the continent.
China Non-ferrous Metal Mining group operates three mines in the Zambia’s Chambeshi MFEZ, namely NFC Africa Mining Plc, Chambishi Copper Smelter Limited and Sino-Metals Leach Zambia that are listed in Hong Kong.
Mr Liang said that lecturers will be sent to China for further training. Adding that some students will als be sent to China for further training.”We hope to train 40 people for a start,” he said.
The training to be funded by China is expected to address skills gap not only in Chinese run mines but also a countrywide skills shortage related to construction and the mining industry.
In Kenya, China plans to help in the construction of a rail engineering school to train personnel would take over the running of the newly built Standard Gauge Railway from China Road and Bridges Corporation (CRBC).