(Xinhua) -- When 28-year-old Kenny Puturi from
Namibia completed his secondary education some years back, odd
jobs were a distinct feature in his life.
As luck would have it for him, eight
years ago he was recruited by contractor company China Henan
International Cooperation Group (CHICO) to work on the
Otjinene-Okamatapati road project.
The Otjinene-Okamatapati road forms
part of the Southern African Regional Trunk Road. It links the
Trans-Kalahari to the Trans-Caprivi highway, aiding in Namibia’s
economic prospects in terms of import and export.
There, Puturi got a vocation as a
junior surveyor, a dream once far-fetched from him. CHICO has
been involved in the development of the road network in Namibia
Today, his duties include picking up
levels and surveying borrow pits.
He credits his profession prospects to
the training offered by his Chinese employer.
“I gained hands-on experience
including supervisory and leadership skills. The skills are
applicable when working with surveyor assistants and
compensation of land for the community. It has been very
satisfying,” he said Thursday.
Investment in training of locals,
according to CHICO’s representative Charles Cui, is aimed at
empowering Namibian youth.
It also help reduce soaring
unemployment the country is battling with. Namibia Statistics
Agency placed the country’s unemployment figures at 37.3 percent
in 2017, an increase from 34 percent recorded in 2016 and 28
percent in 2014.
According to Cui, training is
facilitated by various private service providers from Namibia
and South Africa, with internal training and on-the-job training
Intercultural communication has been
central to the success of training employees.
“Bridging language barriers was done
by engaging expatriate employees through robust training and
explaining the Namibian culture as well as the law that governs
the labor industrial issues in the country,” he said.
Furthermore, the company also ensured
that an interpreter conversant in both English and Mandarin was
hired to eliminate misunderstandings.
The impact has been multi-faceted,
visible in the quality of outputs.
With a financial injection of more
than 5 million Namibian dollars (352,000 U.S. dollars) in
industrial skills programs, CHICO has trained more than 800
employees (80 women and 720 men) between 2014 and 2017 in
various fields such as construction, health and understanding of
the Labour Act.
Application of skills gained by
employees like Puturi has since translated into the successful
completion of major road network projects including
Okamatapati-Grootfontein development project officially launched
by Namibian President Hage Geingob in April.
Training has also boosted soft skills
“Provision of training alleviated
their self-confidence and level of understanding in performing
their jobs. Some employees were promoted into more senior
positions,” added Cui.
Meanwhile, Puturi said his job and
training has ignited in him passion for engineering and
construction, and he hopes to get funds and support to pursue
studies at tertiary level. “I have found a career at the Chinese
company,” he said.
In the meantime, Cui said that
training is an integral part of an organisational development
The Chinese contractor currently
employs more than 200 people working in engineering fields,
administration and management.
Chinese ambassador to Namibia Zhang
Yiming said that Chinese companies have created about 11,000
employment opportunities in Namibia and 250 million Namibian
dollars (17.6 million dollars) of tax revenue.