In Zambia, a southern African country striving to foster national development through industrialization, a transformation is underway.
The construction of the 750-megawatt Kafue Lower Gorge Power Station, built by the Chinese firm Sinohydro Corporation Limited and financially backed by the Export-Import Bank of China, has not only sparked a dramatic enhancement of the nation’s electricity supply but also ignited a life-altering journey for its youthful workforce.
Beyond the creation of job opportunities for Zambia’s burgeoning workforce, this project has offered a unique training initiative that equips its employees with invaluable skills for their careers in the future.
The training program, conducted under the Sinohydro Training Institute, was launched in September 2017 with the goal of training qualified industrial workers for both the construction of the power plant and the broader needs of the country. A total of 332 young workers underwent training before the program was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These young people have since expressed their gratitude for the opportunity, which has equipped them with skills they can use to improve their lives. Gift Kapanda, an electrical technologist at the Chinese company, shared his happiness about not only securing a job but also gaining valuable skills.
Kapanda had previously completed a power electrical course at a local training center before joining Sinohydro. After several unsuccessful attempts to secure a job, he was offered the opportunity to undergo the training program, which he accepted after talking with his family. He commenced his seven-month course in January 2018.
“It was a good experience because, after completing my power electrical course, finding a stable job in the production industry was still a significant challenge. Coming to Sinohydro and being exposed to such a large industry was a significant advantage for me,” Kapanda said.
He said the training provided at the institute was excellent, as it included both theory and practical elements. According to him, the practical side of the training, which involved site visits to observe company operations and learn how to operate large machines, was particularly impressive.
“Coming here has truly been a blessing, and I had to give it my best to make the most of this opportunity,” he said. He also expressed gratitude to the company for offering him the opportunity to pursue further studies in China as an engineering technologist.
Gorge Mwalusaka, who has worked as a surveyor for about four years, said he was glad that the company provided him with training that has made his current job easier.
He was selected to undergo the six-month training after applying in 2019 and found the knowledge he acquired has been instrumental in solving problems he encounters during work. “I am grateful for the training and the job I was given.”
Mwalusaka, whose responsibilities include setting boundary lines, constructing monuments and performing building and mechanical work, plans to further his education to attain a higher position within the company.
Jericho Kananga, another electrical technologist, plans to utilize the knowledge acquired at the training institute and his experience working for Sinohydro to establish his own company in the future.
The training has equipped him with the skills to install electrical machines, and he wants to pass on this knowledge to others, Kananga said.
The training program reflects Sinohydro’s commitment to implementing China-Africa cooperation in personnel training.
Du Xiaohui, the Chinese ambassador to Zambia, said that the training offered by Sinohydro is part of China’s support for capacity building in Zambia. He pledged that China will continue to assist Zambia in capacity building through both short-term and degree training programs.