Entrepreneur values vocational training – The Namibian
VOCATIONAL TRAINING is crucial to empower young people and help build the country’s economy.
This was said last week during an interview with Onesmus Ekandjo, the owner of Sheke Construction and Joinery, in his office at Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Center in Katutura.
“I have a degree in construction and carpentry and that got me a job with a construction company where I worked for 15 years before starting my own business,” he said.
Over the years, Ekandjo gained the necessary experience and saved enough money to venture out on his own.
“I have never borrowed money to finance my business activities,” said Ekandjo, who has four employees and has been in business since 2014. He has, however, received help from the Ministry of Commerce, which has donated equipment as part of a government program to help budding entrepreneurs. .
“I still have this equipment so far,” Ekandjo said.
His company specializes in remodeling residential properties, as well as designing and installing kitchen cabinets, tiles and ceilings, he said.
“No job is too big or too small for us. Our main customers are individual homeowners in Windhoek and outside who want cabinetry fittings and renovations done.
Ekandjo said the Covid-19 pandemic was having a serious negative effect on the construction sector, which was already reeling from the economic downturn in Namibia.
As the government had not declared the sector an essential service during the lockdown, construction workers felt the full impact of the restrictions as they could not work.
“There were no activities. Even this resort was closed and we couldn’t come here. We managed to get a few jobs, but they were rare. The curfew and lockdown made it worse because we couldn’t get out of town or work late,” he said.
As a craftsman, Ekandjo trains his workers to ensure that they maintain a good standard of workmanship.
He said that because he believed training was essential, he planned to set up a facility to train young people entering the industry.
He advised young people to learn the necessary skills and start their own business early, in order to create work for other Namibians.
“Vocational training is very important because it gives young people a foundation for skills that would make them marketable,” he said, adding that there is no shortcut to success, but hard work and patience are essential.
On why some entrepreneurs were abandoning booths at the Bokamoso complex when one of the challenges small businesses face is the lack of workspace, Ekandjo said the complex has nothing that attracts people, although it is located next to a busy main road leading to many parts of Katutura.
“If we had something like a post office or a bank here, people visiting those institutions would see what activities are going on in the complex.”
He disagreed with some contractors who claimed the resort’s rent was too high.
“It’s affordable compared to other resorts, especially those owned by individuals or businesses.”
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