The Sunday Mail
Government will from August this year provide interns from State-run universities and colleges a minimum living allowance to cater for food and transport needs.
The Sunday Mail has gathered that the move is part of a comprehensive apprenticeship programme to be rolled out next month to cater for the resumption of apprenticeships and introduce innovation hubs in tertiary institutions.
Last week, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the allowances for students on industrial attachment were provided in the Manpower and Planning Act (1984), but were being abused in previous years.
Most interns are struggling to meet their living expenses as companies offer them small amounts of money or nothing at all.
Said Prof Murwira in an interview: “It is part of our 100-day plan to start giving the students on attachment a certain amount of money that will help them during their attachment.
“As of now, there is no certain figure yet, but what is certain is that they are going to get the money starting this August.
“No matter how little the money might be, the principle is that they are going to receive the money based on what is available.
“We have to at least facilitate their transport cost to and from work and at least money for lunch,” he said.
Prof Murwira said the ministry will resume apprenticeship training next month.
“The apprenticeship programme which had been stopped for the past few years has already started and apprentices will be enrolled at various polytechnics this March”, he said
“The apprenticeship is to improve the country, it is a way of industrialization. Apprentices are the technologists and we cannot operate without apprenticeship or industrialise without technicians.”
On the introduction of innovation hubs in tertiary institutions, Prof Muwira said the move is meant to translate theory into practice.
“Innovation hubs are meant to make ideas happen and to put things into practice,” said the minister.
“If one has a great idea on how to produce a commodity and goes with that idea to the innovation hubs, it must be developed into a prototype before the assembly line, then the produced commodity will be passed to industry so that we then generate money from it.
Industrialist and Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe executive director Mr John Mufukare said emphasis should be put on skills development. “We are very happy about this development. Without skills, industry cannot function,” he said.
“Apprenticeships are what the country needs at the moment, let us look at the future of work.”
President Mnangagwa is on record calling on institutions of higher learning to develop students who can turn ideas into practical products.