Knowledge and skills gained through a Fellowship spark entrepreneurial spirit in Namibia

Ena Göttert is from Namibia. In 2010, she received a Fellowship funded by the Australian Government to take a course focused on Different Vocational Education and Training (VET) Programs and Retail Research at the University of Newcastle. At the time, Ena was a Manager at the Namibian Woermann Retail Academy. In 2011, a year after completing her Fellowship, Ena resigned to open her own retail and business training institute. “With my Australian outlook, knowledge, skills and broader vision for VET, I could just envision endless opportunities for Namibians. My Australian experience provided me with the energy, zest for work and personal life, inspiration and self-confidence that I needed to take on a VET training college.”

Indeed, Ena founded her own training institute, the Institute of Retail and Business Training, which delivers training at the different retail companies and is reportedly the first national retail institute in Namibia. “With my newly gained knowledge, as well as the comfort that I had a network of Australian retail experts to assist when needed, I bravely took [this] huge step. Now I could implement and apply all the skills and knowledge [I had gained]. With the high retail company standards in Australia, I decided that the new college would follow in Australia’s footsteps of proper, effective training,” she explained.

But this is only one of Ena’s outstanding accomplishments. She collaborated with the Namibian Training Authority to get started on retail and wholesale Industry Skills Councils (ISCs), which were non-existent in Namibia. More recently (February 2012), Ena partnered with another training provider, and together they are busy planning the opening of a new, integrated VET centre as Namibian schools plan to implement VET subjects. This project, still in the works, aims high as she explains: “Our plan, the first for Namibia and derived from Australia’s school vocational subjects, includes taking the Grade 10 learners and drop-outs off our streets, upgrading their skills, providing a three-year plan for academic or VET subjects, entry and exit levels in each year and learnerships, which the VET industry must sponsor to provide these children and young adults with job placement. This will address the issue of the unemployment of our school leavers, as well as get them skilled for job placement.” Funding is being sought for this project, and with Ena’s drive and entrepreneurship, it may well get funded and take off.

Ena attributes the skills and knowledge gained from her studies in Australia to her contributions to development outcomes in Namibia, and expresses much appreciation for the study opportunity. As summarised in her own words: “Australia impressed me tremendously with its organised VET system, the very well-functioning ISC, as well as the interaction between VET providers and the industry. For me, the visit to Australia brought much satisfaction, but more importantly, it brought a calmness and peace of heart to be equipped with knowing exactly what the best will be for a newly established retail academy. A whole new world opened up for me regarding VET training, which resulted in my own VET college, as well as the vision of an integrated VET centre.”    

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