Kagem Emeralds Champions Upskilling for Zambia’s Economic Revival

Lufwanyama, Zambia: In a display of solidarity with the labour force, Kagem Mining Limited (Kagem), the world’s largest emerald producer, actively participated in the joint Labour Day celebrations held on May 1st at Lufwanyama Boarding School Hall. The event brought together government representatives, mining companies, trade unions, and other stakeholders within Lufwanyama.

Kagem echoed the government’s call to prioritize workforce development through continuous improvement and skills training. This initiative aims to cultivate a highly competent and productive mining sector, propelling Zambia’s economic resurgence.

Lufwanyama’s District Commissioner, Mr. Justin Mwalikwa, emphasised the government’s dedication to fostering a skilled labour force that aligns with industry needs.  “We are actively collaborating with skills training institutions and supporting young people in acquiring relevant expertise,” he declared. Mr. Mwalikwa encouraged the district’s youth to seize opportunities presented by grants like the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to pursue skills training at vocational institutes and colleges.

Recognizing the significance of a skilled and committed workforce in achieving Zambia’s economic aspirations, Kagem partnered with the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) through a signed memorandum of understanding (MoU). This collaboration focuses on equipping Kagem’s employees with industry-specific expertise in mechanics, electrics, applied sciences, business studies, and the repair of automotive and heavy machinery. Additionally, the mine conducts regular internal training sessions across various departments.

The 2024 Labour Day theme, “Building Resilience: Workers at the heart of Zambia’s Economic Recovery,” underscores the critical role a skilled and engaged workforce plays in effectively implementing and achieving the nation’s economic growth objectives within the envisioned timeframes.

“Economic restoration and transformation are unattainable without the unwavering dedication and commitment of our workers,” reiterated Mr. Mwalikwa.

Commenting on the event, Kagem’s General Manager, Adriaan Prinsloo, acknowledged Zambia’s crucial economic juncture, where sectoral productivity hinges on employee output. “Employee welfare, recognition, and development remain Kagem’s top priorities within our human resources management strategy. We strive to foster a supportive and inclusive work environment,” he explained.

“We are determined to maintain this momentum. Equipping our staff with the necessary skills to excel in their daily tasks and keeping their training current with industry standards are paramount. Kagem has existing programs in place to ensure this,” he emphasised.

The ceremony also saw the recognition of long-serving Kagem employees for their exemplary service. Thirty exceptional individuals received awards in categories such as Most Hardworking, Most Dedicated, and Most Improved. A total of 91 employees were commended for their outstanding contributions, exemplifying the company’s values and inspiring others to pursue excellence.

Kagem’s commitment to skills development extends beyond its workforce. The company is actively involved in the construction of the Chapula Vocational Training Centre in Lufwanyama, demonstrating its dedication to uplifting the surrounding community. This initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Technology and Science, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture. Upon completion, the facility will be handed over to TEVETA for the implementation of various skills training programs. This will significantly enhance the employability of local youth and residents, aligning with the government’s Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) policy.

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