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15/12/2022

Daily News Botswana – Graduates Aim to Transform Economy

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Source: Daily News Botswana.

GABORONE – The first batch of young Batswana, who went for training with diamond processing specialists HB Antwerp, are back home ready to transform the diamond industry. Fifteen of the 30 arrived in the country after a three-month stint of intensive training at HB headquarters in Belgium. They not only trained for the processing of diamonds, but were also offered managerial training to equip them for the employment market as they pioneer HB Botswana.

Three of them being Katso Golekanye, a 22-year-old Computer System Engineering graduate from Botswana Accountancy College; 25-year-old Ms Natasha Majuta, a Chemical Engineering graduate from BIUST and 28-year-old Tlotlo Oletile also a Chemical Engineering graduate from BIUST shared their experiences and their vision with BOPA recently. The trio said they learnt of HB Antwerp either through a friend and/or social media and when they arrived in Belgium for further studies, they either continued with what related to their course of study or shifted to learn new things. Ms Majuta, who is in the diamond architecture, said there was no direct relation between what she studied and what she learnt in Belgium regarding her career at HB, “but I would say it was a stepping stone in what am doing and has given me the platform to be able to grasp and understand concepts quicker now”.

Graduates Aim To Transform Economy | Daily News Botswana
Graduates Aim To Transform Economy | Daily News Botswana

For Golekanye and Ms Oletile there was a correlation. Ms Oletile, who is in the data team, said “I worked with data a lot and I have also worked as a technician for three months whilst at BIUST, so for me it was just a continuation of what I learnt at school”. She is also pursuing her Master’s degree. “In my case, it integrated well with my degree because I got to work with all systems,” Katso noted.

He said with information technology at the forefront of every company, he had to further learn more on information systems. “But also as engineers we are taught processes and we do not have to be focused on our core degrees to perform our duties, but be able to follow process and do diligent work,” he said. Sharing their experiences regarding culture of work and living in Belgium, the trio said the language and way of life were challenging, especially that they only had three months.

They noted that it was even harder as HB was a multilingual setup, as most people were not all from Belgium. They said the cultural diversity was not all a hindrance, but also an opportunity to learn new skills and diversify their talents through interacting with the other talented trainees they met. “Working with diverse people like that also gave us an opportunity to experience how it is to work with different characters, something which we will be now smoothly transitioning into here at home,” said Ms Oletile Further, they said they learnt and appreciated was the work ethic, which the trio described as being totally different from what they know of in Botswana.

“Whilst in Belgium, as a trainee I was taught and given an opportunity to sit in the boardroom and experience and observe how decisions are made, it is something which as a junior, let alone a trainee, in Botswana, you can never experience,” stated Ms Mojuta. She added that private companies and government alike should give the youth a chance to lead. She said Botswana youth were ready to transform the economy but they only needed to given opportunities.

Ms Mojuta said they were ready to take the responsibility to lead, something which she said they had been afforded at HB. “At a stage where I am, I would be lucky to even get internship, but here I am at HB, I have been given a responsibility to lead and make decisions, after intense training,” she said, adding that many youth lose hope after graduation as they roam the streets for a long time without jobs or not even given a chance to prove their worth and capabilities in the workplace as they are subjected to internships.

Sharing the same sentiments, Mr Golekanye said there was need for a robust mind-set change regarding giving youth responsibilities in both the public and private sectors. He said the world is run by the youth and economies are transformed. He said as Botswana was turning digital, the youth were the answer as they were in-sync with technology and they would be able to transform the country into a healthy competitive luxury economy. HB Antwerp Co-founder and Managing Partner, Mr Rafael Papismedov, who is already in Botswana to see to the launch and operations, said they were currently setting up machinery. During a tour of the facility, he said they were also bringing in experts from abroad, who would transfer skills to their graduates. He said skills transfer was important to them as a company as they believe in development and local empowerment.

 

Thus, he said the experts who would be assisting with setting up the machines, and will go back after their work was done. Furthermore, Mr Papismedov noted that in January 2023, 15 more graduates from BIUST would be going for a three-month training in Belgium. BOPA

 

Daily News Botswana

 

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