ANNIE ZULU writes
A LOCAL jewelry manufacturer has called for the introduction of courses in jewelry processing in vocational training institutions in order to promote the growth of the industry.
Jewel of Africa managing director Rajnish Sharma (center) says Zambians should be encouraged to gain expertise and to venture into the industry because it has vast potential to boost the country’s economy.
Currently, there is no institution in Zambia that offers courses in jewelry processing.
Dr. Sharma told The Sun in an interview that having many Zambians who are trained in jewelry processing would also help create massive employment opportunities, widen the tax base for the treasury and expand the country’s export basket.
“We would like to urge Government to include Jewelry manufacturing in one of its vocational training programmes. Currently we have the Ndola Lapidary Training School, which is doing its part in teaching the students how to cut, but we don’t have any similar training centers for jewelry manufacturing, Dr. Sharma says.
“Even the Ndola Lapidary School, once they finish being trained there, it takes another 2-3 years to get the proficiency to cut valuable gems. Gems are valuable even when they are produced, a gem is worth a lot, so you have to teach somebody slowly, and maybe it takes five years of experience before you can cut a gem of high value.
“What we need is a formal training facility that teaches students how to cut and polish properly, the latest techniques, give them the experience on how to manufacture jewelry .It’s a big field which we feel as Jewel of Africa will immensely help the country,” Dr. Sharma said.
He also encouraged the youth to take up jewelry manufacturing as a career and create jobs for themselves.
Dr. Sharma expressed hope for the future of Zambia’s Jewelry sector.
“Zambia is blessed with a variety of gemstones, the most valuable being Emerald. as these gems are desired all over the world, if we can train our youth to make world class jewelry as well as attract more investment in the sector, I am sure the gemstone sector will shine and grow to become a very viable foreign exchange earner through exports,” he said.