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Youths graduate in UNESCO skills programme

Tokelo Rasephei

ONE hundred and sixty four local youths from different tertiary institutions recently received certificates after completing a 12 week Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion (STEP) programme at a ceremony that was held at Lehakoe Recreational Centre in Maseru.

The Secretary General – Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO, Palesa Monts’i, officiated at the handover ceremony.

Ms Monts’i said the STEP programme which was started in 2014 had equipped graduates from Lerotholi Polytechnic, Lesotho Agricultural College, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Centre for Accounting Studies and the National University of Lesotho/ Institute of Extra Mural Studies.

“The 12 module programme aims at providing trainees with theoretical and practical skills to become entrepreneurs”, Ms Monts’i said.

She said since the programme started they had equipped 520 unemployed Basotho youths with skills to start their own businesses.

The Rector at the Lerotholi Polytechnic, Mamokheseng Mpooa, said youths faced challenges of securing employment, adding it was time they started their own businesses.

For his part, the Deputy Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Small Business Development, Co-operatives and Marketing, Majoele Likonelo Hlasoa, said government was grateful to UNESCO for equipping youths with the necessary skills to start their own businesses.

Ms Hlasoa said government was committed to creating a conducive environment for the private sector as they were critical to poverty alleviation efforts through job creation.

She urged the trainees to take risks when establishing their businesses, adding her ministry would offer support to small businesses in the country.

“We are facing an era of high unemployment in the country and it is our mandate to fight youth redundancy. Our Ministry is keen to meet Basotho halfway in developing their businesses”, Ms Hlasoa said.

She added that they had collaborated with banks to ensure small businesses got financing which could only be accessed by those who came up with convincing business proposals.

 

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