THE Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) in collaboration the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU) have launched an entrepreneurship programme aimed at empowering youth with skills for sustainability.
LNDC has injected M100 000 into the Student Training on Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), LNCU M50 000 while the Leuphana University of Luneberg in Germany has been deployed to facilitate the one year programme.
STEP will provide 200 trainees, who are final year students at tertiary level, with knowledge and skills to become self-employed. A hundred of the students will come from Lesotho Agricultural College (LAC), 20 each from Lesotho College of Education, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT), National University of Lesotho (NUL) Center for Accounting Studies (CAS), and another 20 being recent graduates.
Speaking at the launch ceremony on Wednesday, LNDC CEO Kelebone Leisanyane lauded the programme which he said came “at a crucial time when the country was facing challenges of unemployment and under-employment of young professionals”.
He also said STEP answered the call for a new approach in the way business was being carried out in the country.
Mr Leisanyane revealed that LNDC’s support for STEP would also entail committing both technical and financial resources, including monitoring and evaluating progress in its delivery.
“We are happy to announce the LNDC has put aside M100 000 towards supporting projects started by these young trainees,” Mr Leisanyane said.
“This project complements our Enterprise Development Facility that has to date benefitted at least 26 local companies through the partial Credit Guarantee Scheme.”
LNCU Secretary General Palesa Montsi said trainers from four tertiary institutions would be deployed to facilitate the tuition course.
“This project will be piloted by LAC with trainers from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Center for Accounting Studies, Institute of Extra Mural Studies and Lerotholi Polytechnic, while another batch of 20 participants will be drawn from unemployed grandaunts,” Ms Montsi said
“The course will be conducted by these trainers who will teach groups of 50 pupils each. A teaching session will take three hours and pupils will complete the course after 12 classes.”
Meanwhile, Leuphana University Programme Director Kim Bischoff said upon completion of STEP, pupils would be equipped with the skills and knowledge to enable them to identify business opportunities.
“I have come across many pupils who told me they often generate business ideas daily but have never put them into action. STEP will help many youths to act upon the opportunities they have identified and improve on sourcing business opportunities,” Ms Bischoff said.
“Having business skills gives confidence and the ability to plan and move ahead in business.”
Also in attendance at the event Education and Training Minister ‘Makabelo Mosothoane, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Principal Secretary Nchemo Maile and Honorary Consul at the German Consulate to Lesotho, Heinz Fiebig.