With COL’s support, Zambian furniture makers are building their capacity to produce quality wares for the local market. A sofa made during a workplace training at Nakadoli Furniture Co-operative (NFC) was recently sold for ZMK 7,000 – well above the average for outdoor display markets.
The training with a focus on quality furniture making and ergonomics had been organised by Luanshya Technical Business College (LTBC), COL’s partner in Skills for Work initiative, to improve the livelihoods of local craftspersons through skills acquisition.
Using a blend of workplace plus online learning, Skills for Work trains informal apprentices towards formal qualifications. It builds on the existing centuries’ old apprenticeship model and supplements it with the use of technology. Furniture making is a priority skill in Zambia, and the ultimate goal is to scale the model across other furniture cooperatives.
Mrs. Ethel K Simpemba, LTBC Acting Principal, is optimistic that Skills for Work will contribute to increasing household incomes and reducing poverty among local furniture makers.
According to Mr Kelvin Chansa, NFC Chairperson, co-operative members are looking forward to becoming more competitive through improved quality and better marketing.
“Through genuine partnerships TVET institutions in Zambia are helping informal businesses improve profits and make a difference in many people’s lives,” said Ms Terry Neal, COL Education Specialist: Technical and Vocational Skills Development.