Installation, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) Initiative
In the face of growing youth unemployment and economic exclusion, it is evident that investing in skills alone will not solve the problem.
Since 2019, the Economic Inclusion Unit of the NBI has been spearheading a multi-faceted and multi-sector partnership, which is focused on expanding and growing pathways for young people to access Installation, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) occupations.
IRM Occupations refer to jobs or professions that require the use of artisanal skills to:
Install, repair and/ or maintain tools, equipment, machinery and infrastructure.
Examples of occupations include Plumbing Assistants, Electrical Assistants, Facilities Maintenance (Handypersons), Small Appliance Technicians, Mobile Device Repair Technicians, Health Equipment Repair and Maintenance Technicians, as well as Agricultural Equipment Repair and Maintenance Technicians.
Produce (partly or entirely by hand) and supply functional, innovative products. Examples of these include:
- Welders who produce window frames and burglar bars;
- Carpenters that produce building frames, roof trusses and furniture; and
- Electronic Technicians who can diagnose and repair different types of electronic equipment and can also produce and install new technologies.
More specific to the Green Economy, the use of artisanal skills to:
- Detect and reduce utility consumption; and
- Manufacturing and maintenance of resource efficiency devices (energy, water, and waste).
The IRM initiative is strategically aligned to various initiatives of government to drive inclusive recovery and revitalisation of the economy, particularly in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Located initially in the Presidential Job Summit Framework Agreement in 2018, it has subsequently been incorporated as part of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI) and it is aligned to the skills strategy for the Economic Recovery and Revitalisation Plan (ERRP).
The Initiative works on the premise that, by supporting township based IRM entrepreneurs to strengthen and grow their businesses and linking them to localised market opportunities, there will be a concomitant increase in the demand for skilled labour which could lead to the creation of employment opportunities. Therefore, it is a direct response to the youth unemployment challenge.
The IRM Initiative has the following key features:
It takes a local ecosystem approach to understanding and unlocking opportunities for SMEs and unemployed youth, as well as addressing the factors that inhibit access to these opportunities.
Building the capacity of TVET colleges so that they become more entrepreneurial in their approach and can deliver demand-led skills development programmes.
The establishment of enterprise and skills development hubs (IRM hubs) in strategic locations that are near industrial nodes that will operate as the institutional mechanisms that can aggregate and deliver support to SMEs and unemployed youth.
Providing support to existing, growth oriented IRM SMEs/entrepreneurs to increase enterprise capacity, technical skills, and market access, on the proviso that they train and employ youth.
Delivery of demand-led skills training that are aligned to the skills demands in SMEs for both workers and unemployed youth and placing them in SMEs for work-based learning.
Supporting young entrepreneurs with IRM skills to incubate new businesses and linking them to local markets.
The Enterprise and Skills Development Hubs
Our strategically located IRM Township Hubs offer TVET Colleges and township communities a support structure where young people and Entrepreneurs can access:
The IRM Strategy 2035:
The Installation, Repair and Maintenance Initiative HUB
Growing Green Skills and Jobs in the Plumbing Industry through Mentoring TVET College Graduates
Expanding Inclusive Entry Pathways into the Green Economy| Plumbing strategic note
UK Government video on IRM Initiative for S4P Skills