Freotech Refrigeration offers lifeline through vocational training

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Writes Wellington Zimbowa

In the past, traditional pathways focused more on academic success and popularized the degree syndrome but that was more relevant then. Today, a highly informalized economy has seen a skyrocketing unemployment rate in the country.

More than 2,8 million men of working age are unemployed according to the official Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) 2023 first quarter survey released last year, standing at 46.7 percent, though opponents claim it is over 90 percent.

As industries are yet to make a full recovery following decades of economic stagnation and policy conflict, the informal sector has risen to the occasion.

Freotech Refrigeration and Air Conditioning is one such small to medium enterprise providing livelihoods to its youthful staff and their families as well as contributing to the country’s development agenda.

“I have always been a practically oriented person and I believed that I was more skills-biased than the academic route.

“After completing my course in refrigeration, I didn’t think of getting employed but chose to be my destiny-maker.

“I thus made necessary researches and consultations on how to start my own company and in 2010 I started my company with just meager resources,” says Matara, the Freotech founder.

The Kwekwe-headquartered business is making good headway in providing refrigeration and air conditioning services, extending its operations to individual and business clients across the country.

It’s a story of humble beginnings indeed and sheer determination, innovative bespoken client solutions, discipline, and astute leadership especially in this dynamic socio-economic environment. The man is also known as Ginimbi only due to some physical similarities with the late entrepreneur, Genius Kadungure.

“It’s all about being organized at personal and business levels, including financial discipline and maximum cliental care.

“I also draw a lot of guidance from many business models,” he says.

The Freotech boss leads a team of 14 employees who are young graduates from various technical and vocational colleges for the technical team.

He is also pushed by the desire to complement the government’s socio-economic development agenda as a patriotic Zimbabwean.

Matara is modest as he is adamant that “our parents did their part in seeing to us that we are taken care of since childhood hence it is time for continuing with the race.

Freotech offers fix and supply, maintenance, and service catering for refrigeration and air conditioning systems as well as preventative and emergency repairs.

Highly experienced professionals, and product, energy efficiency, competitive pricing, and customer focus are the benchmarks for the determined organization’s success, according to the youthful founder.

The company urges more sustainable funding opportunities saying it’s also afloat due to the ability to navigate the demanding operational environment.

Matara also calls on the government to have more friendly policies and regulations for young entrepreneurs.

This includes robust capacity and mentorship opportunities for growing businesses, including prioritization in government and national tenders, he added.

Some experts interviewed by this publication say university education often gives conceptual or broad awareness that can be decided to apply to a range of roles within a line of work, while vocational training helps students learn the relevant skills required to accomplish tasks, particular competencies, or commerce, such as auto repair and beautician training, the latter being more practical and hands-on.