Building skills for the green economy in Zimbabwe

Building skills for the green economy in Zimbabwe

How we developed five groundbreaking TVET training programmes to boost skills and promote sustainability

We celebrated the development of five groundbreaking Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) training programmes at an inter-ministerial event in Harare on 2 December 2020.

To stimulate the market for new products and services and expand employment opportunities in the green economy in Zimbabwe, two integrated demand & supply-side interventions were prioritised:

  • Access to quality and industry-ready TVET training programmes
  • Effective utilization of skills in green and growth-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

hat’s why, from the start, one of the main goals of Green enterPRIZE was to reinforce the capacity of TVET institutions to respond to the demands of a changing labour market. This was achieved by adhering to the government’s Education 5.0 model and by connecting the network of TVET institutions with a platform of green and growth-oriented SMEs.

The newly developed TVET curricula focus on the climate-smart agriculture and renewable energy sectors. The training materials will be accessible to all students in Zimbabwe through professional training institutions, work-based learning, and online learning. 

Such an achievement required the commitment and collaboration of different stakeholders that worked closely with the ILO technical team throughout the project implementation: 

  • an inter-ministerial task force led by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development and supported by several line Ministries, in charge of Youth, Women and SMEs, Energy and Agriculture
  • a network of TVET institutions and their faculties
  • representatives from industry and SMEs and technical experts from national and international organizations
  • workers and employers’ organizations
  • the National Manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO) and the Higher Education Examinations Council (HEXCO).

Together, we developed the training programmes in six phases: 

1. Research

From 2017 to 2018, we researched the supply and demand of skills for green jobs. One of our key takeaways was the need to identify learning pathways that would reduce the skills mismatch and increase the relevance of TVET institutions as the country transitions to a greener economy.

2. Assessment

Next, from 2018 to 2019, we assessed the institutional capacity of TVET institutions in both the public and private sectors. The ILO collaborated with various governmental ministries to build a network of 30 institutions, set to offer training in specific key economic sectors. We also gained insights on how TVET could support the greening of the Zimbabwean economy, as well as some of the common challenges the institutions and the system face.

Operationalizing the demand-driven framework meant prioritizing economic sectors and activities, among them:

  • Renewable energy (solar and biogas)
  • Climate-smart agriculture (innovative and efficient processing of agricultural products)

Both the design and delivery of the TVET programme have been thought to:

  • Involve industry stakeholders
  • Increase participants’ employability
  • Create an industry-ready workforce

3. Curricula development and validation

The training programmes are at the National Certificate level 4 of the Zimbabwe National Qualifications Framework (ZNQF), which covers 10 levels of qualifications, ranging from basic to higher education.

Level 4 requires graduates to have operational knowledge in the area of specialty, relate with diverse techniques, address recognizable problems in usual settings and work under general supervision. 

Industry experts, TVET and academic professionals worked together to develop each learning module, following a Competence Based Education and Training (CBET) methodology

This approach is fairly standard across African countries, offering a potential for replicability across the region.

Each curriculum is based on national occupational standards, which define the roles and responsibilities of the targeted job profiles, taking into account what is required and accepted by industry. To enhance its effectiveness, the creation of integrated packages, should combine relevant skills training, labour market information, career guidance, and employment services, while simultaneously enhancing the capacity of training providers to design and implement training programmes.

Once complete, the ILO submitted these training packages (comprising Qualification Standards, DACUM Charts and Curriculum Documents) for validation and accreditation by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education in coordination with the responsible bodies (NAMACO and HEXCO).

4. Launch/Pilot

These training packages are now the reference point for any institution in Zimbabwe that wants to offer National Certificate Level 4 courses in the following technical skills areas:

  • Domestic solar PV installation and maintenance
  • Biogas systems installation 
  • Solar sales and marketing 
  • Solar agro-processing
  • Climate smart market gardening

Modular training manuals provide learning content and guidance for instructors and trainees throughout the process, from in-classroom learning to practical work experiences.

A series of Training of Trainers have enhanced the capacity of TVET instructors and industry experts on how to write training manuals, deliver work-based learning and allocate resources to support the pilot phase.

5. Rollout

It’s now time for training institutions in Zimbabwe to offer one or more of these learning pathways. Students at any level of education are encouraged to apply. For those without adequate literacy and/or numeracy skills, bridging programmes will help. Students without O’ levels will also be able to participate. 

Furthermore, a step-by-step procedure, which has been tested and validated, can be used to develop qualifications for new occupational areas as foreseen in the operationalization of the ZNQF.

This milestone was made possible by the ongoing support of the Government of Sweden and the committed participation of key ministries and industry stakeholders under the overall coordination of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation and Science and Technology Development.

What we’re doing now

60 trainers and teachers from TVET institutions and other community-based organizations are currently benefiting from a series of Training of Trainers (ToT) programmes that will enhance their capacities to:

  • Use a competence-based education and training (CBET) approach
  • Help TVET institutions to increase the relevance of their training programmes
  • Promote technical skills for a green economy in Zimbabwe

Action plans and enrollment options have been launched at TVET level with the objective of reaching out to 2,000 students across the country.

The Green enterPRIZE platform is also supporting the establishment of partnerships between training providers and SMEs which can pilot innovative work-based learning programmes in the agricultural and renewable energy sectors. 

May 10, 2021