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Exchange Day is a day all about sharing and trading ideas for growth and progress

The 27th of March is a very special day on the corporate calendar. Exchange Day is dedicated to the free exchange of ideas, where individuals come together to share their insights and perspectives on how to grow their businesses and better serve their communities while doing so. It's a day to celebrate the power of collaboration and cooperation and to recognize the important role that trading ideas play in driving progress and innovation.

This day was inspired by three core values: family, community, and country. As such it aligns perfectly with what the Commercial Advancement Training Scheme (CATS) aims to achieve. Their mission is to empower and develop young individuals with skills and knowledge that can benefit not only themselves but also their families, communities, and ultimately, their country.

When ideas are shared, they can grow and change the world!

One way you can honour Exchange Day is to support the CATS program and the students they uplift. This dual training scheme provides both school leavers and employees with the opportunity to further their professional careers. The program is a private initiative by the Namibian industry and currently consists of 21 member companies.

CATS offers two theoretical training options: a two-year Diploma in Business Process Management and a one-year Certificate in Supervisory Skills Development. The program involves practical and theoretical training, where students are employed by one of the CATS member companies for two years. During this time, they receive on-the-job training at the company for four days a week, while the remaining one and a half days are dedicated to theoretical training provided by the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).

The CATS Curriculum includes Business Accounting, Commercial Law, Information Competence, and Supply Chain, Retail, and Project Management skills.

The practical training component of the CATS program involves rotating through different departments of the business under the guidance of a mentor and supervisor. This provides students with a comprehensive understanding of how the company operates and helps them develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers. Companies almost always choose to hire these highly experienced individuals after their 2-year training period is completed.

Mentors provide valuable guidance and support to help the participants achieve their goals

What better way to celebrate Exchange Day than by making sure talented mentors find eager learners who eventually turn into advisors themselves, creating jobs and changing the Namibian skill development landscape for the better? By investing in the education and training of our youth, we are investing in the future of our communities and the country as a whole.

The CATS program is an excellent example of how the private sector can work together to create opportunities for young people and contribute to the country's development while their businesses and bottom lines actively benefit.

The CATS Program benefits businesses by improving employee performance and driving success through a skilled and motivated workforce.

How can you support the CATS program?

The CATS program offers three types of memberships for companies interested in partnering with them: Active, Associated, and Affiliated.

Active members take in CATS students as trainees for four days a week and provide theoretical training for one and a half days a week. After completion of the program, the student can become a highly trained employee at the company or enter the job market.

Associated and Affiliated members are interested in the CATS program but feel they can't currently offer traineeship but are willing to help in other ways.

If you or your business is interested in helping the CATS program give our youth a brighter future please fill in this quick and easy form found below:

  • Armin Wieland

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

It’s easy to daydream about a better future. It’s much harder to roll up your sleeves and find a practical way to help the next generation of Namibians succeed. Not only is this exactly what the members of The Commercial Advancement Training Scheme (CATS) did, but now they’re motivating other companies to do the same.

In 2005 two key issues plagued the Namibian business landscape. There were talented school leavers with no work experience and no funds for tertiary education. Companies needed to hire well-trained employees but skills development was not keeping up with business growth.

A group of forward-thinking companies came together and started brainstorming some solutions to these problems. Inspired by the training schools of Europe, they introduced the dual education system, CATS, to the Namibian business world.

Over the next 10 years, over 30 companies, ranging from small to industry-leading businesses, invested in this program. Not only did they help over 200 students build fulfilling careers, but they quickly saw a return on their investment.

Trainees are exposed to different departments and skills

These companies were able to hire skilled employees with valuable on-the-job training, join ranks with other formidable business leaders, uplift the skills of their current employees, and in a tangible way show their commitment to building a strong Namibian economy.

So how can you join this list of respected companies that keep working with the CATS programme, year after year, thanks to the real-world value and success it provides them?

There are two ways to get involved. The first is to become a more passive Associated Member or Affiliated Member. The second is to become an Active CATS Member who is practically involved in the training program and the benefits attached to it.

How to become an Active Member:

  1. Sign up to be a CATS member

  2. Decide how many students you are willing to train at your facility

  3. Choose your trainees from a preselected list of accepted students

  4. Get help and guidance from CATS as you implement this training program

  5. Get the option of permanently hiring these skilled trainees after 2 years

So if you’re interested in helping your business, as well as the Namibian economy grow, read more here:

Sign up today to become a CATS Member:


Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Imagine you’ve just finished writing your final exams and your privileged friends have already paid their university entrance fees or started an internship at their rich uncle's dealership. You’re bright, motivated, and want to work for your success, but who’s going to give you a chance?

Now imagine you run a profitable business. You’ve put in the hours to build something amazing from the ground up. You go the extra mile for your employees and wish to inspire a happy, well-trained workforce to grow with your business. Where do you find employees as passionate as you are?

The solution to both problems is The Commercial Advancement Training Scheme (CATS), a not-for-gain company that brings businesses and talented young people together to the benefit of both. School leavers are matched with CATS member companies and start a dual training system.

It’s impossible to put into words what it means to a super bright student to get the chance to study, for free, at the Namibia University of Science and Technology or earn an allowance while they train at industry-leading companies for two years.

From Monday to Thursday trainees rotate through different departments of the company under a mentor and supervisor and on Friday and half-day Saturday they study for either a two-year Diploma in Business Process Management or a one-year Certificate in Supervisory Skills Development.

It’s also far from an altruistic decision on the part of the companies. After two years, they can choose to hire, highly skilled employees that understand the company culture and values and who are invested in the growth of the business. Other benefits like being able to apply for vocational training grants and creating trust-building awareness are also great perks.

So, if you’re a young person, dreaming of a fulfilling career, who just needs a chance to prove yourself, apply for the CATS program here:

If you’re a company that wants to promote economic growth through skills development and literally change the lives of those living in your community, then look into the benefits of becoming a CATS member here:

Sign up to become a CATS Member here:

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