Defence Minister Geofrey Mwamba says the Zambia National Service (ZNS) Youth skills training programme will extend to all the ten provincial capitals of the country.
Mr Mwamba said this was with a view to capture many vulnerable youths to be imparted with life sustaining skills.
Speaking at the official opening of intake 04/2012 of 349 youth training programme at Chiwoko ZNS training camp in Chipata district this morning, Mr Mwamba noted that government understands that matters of youths were crucial to any nation and any country which did not attend to the needs of the youth was on a path of self destruction as the future of the country depended on the youth.
And Mr Mwamba warned instructors that government would not condone reports of abuse or exploitation of the youths.
He advised the instructors to execute their duties professionally and pay attention to the sensitive nature of the youths saying there was need to handle the trainees with care as they were delicate and vulnerable.
He appealed to the trainees to take advantage of the training opportunity as it was a starting point to better their lives.
Mr Mwamba also advised the trainees to be disciplined and follow instructions saying rules and regulations were a guiding principle of any society.
Meanwhile, ZNS Deputy Commandant Alick Kamiji said there was need for additional infrastructure of two dormitories to accommodate an increase of youth trainees to 500 per intake at the training centre.
Brigadier General Kamiji said the training camp also required the construction of additional classrooms and a library and adequate provision of training tools for all the courses as the centre did not have adequate tools for the courses.
He reiterated ZNS’s commitment to supporting and fulfilling governments desire of training vulnerable youths into responsible and productive citizens in order for the country to be secured as youths were future leaders.
The Deputy Commandant disclosed that the centre had initially received 350 male youths out of which one was discharged due to gross indiscipline and excessive beer drinking leaving the number to 349.
Earlier, ZNS Chiwoko Commanding officer Kaputa Mukanda said the 18 months training program would include automotive, carpentry and joinery, bricklaying and plastering, plumbing and sheet metal as well as general agriculture.
Major Mukanda said among the trainees were 277 grade twelve school leavers, seven have never been to school and 27 grade eight to nine pupils.
Others were 19 grade seven drop-outs and 19 grade ten to twelve drop-outs.
He also revealed that the youths that were undergoing the training which started in December last were had an average age of 28 and that the oldest was 36 years while the youngest was 17 years old.