Govt, private sector urged to employ skilled youth

MBARARA, April 30, 2024 – Government agencies and the private sector have been urged to employ youth who have been enabled by government to acquire hands-on skills through the Presidential Skilling Initiative.

The call was made recently by State House Comptroller, Jane Barekye while presiding over the second graduation ceremony for 507 youth at Ankole Industrial Hub Rushozi in Muko village in Rubaya Sub-county, Mbarara district.

Barekye said skilling young Ugandans is the best way to reduce unemployment and kick poverty out of Uganda.

However, she retaliated that unemployment can only be kicked out of families and homes if such fresh graduates earn contracts and subcontracts from government institutions, and different companies.

“I want to tell you that these graduates can only take off in the money economy if the agencies and people in the private sector start giving them subcontracts and contracts to master what they have learn from such industrial hubs,” she said, adding that the established industrial  hubs will only impactful when the graduates are supported to put the acquired skills into practice.

She added: “We have started tracking those who graduated last year and we shall proceed with those in the subsequent years because our target is to get results since we want to involve every Ugandan in the money economy.”

She said parliament intends to allocate more Shs 10 billion for the skilling initiative in the coming financial year 2024/2025.

“Parliament is ready to approve Shs 10 billion required for common user facilities at all the zonal industrial hubs as long as the state house comptroller submits the required paperwork. We must support this presidential initiative because of its beauty of skilling the youth to get out of poverty forcefully,” Barekye explained.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Raymond Kamugisha, Director of Presidential Projects and Industrial Hubs, said industrial hubs established across the country are meant to help the unemployed youth to create their own jobs.

Kamugisha noted that each hub admits about 300 jobless youths per semester and more than 7,000 annually.

He said that the graduates receive Level One certificates from the Directorate of Industrial Training [DIT] in the Ministry of Education and Sports after completing the six-months training in practical courses such as welding, metal fabrication, carpentry & joinery, building & construction, tailoring and garment cutting, hairdressing among others.

According to Johnson Turyamwesimira, Principal Qualifications Officer at DIT said the Level One certificates awarded are equivalent to the Uganda Certificate of Education [UCE], and internationally recognised, thus appealing to the graduates to advance their studies.

Barekye excited by the dresses made by students of Industrial Hub (Photo by Joshua Nahamya).

“The awarded certificate at the hub is a foundation that prepares one to advance to the higher level of learning. Therefore, I wish to remind our graduates that finishing the six-months course shouldn’t be the end. Use this certificate as a stepping stone to advance your studies,” he said.

On his part, Didas Tabaro, the Mbarara district LCV Chairman urged government to allocate a startup fund for such graduates upon completion of their training.

“Do not think that all these youths never wanted to study before, I want to tell you that this industrial hub is attracting very many youth. Maybe they dropped out of school because of lack of school fees. Therefore, if the government wants to register results, let it allocate some funds to support these youth after acquiring skills from the hubs,” said Tabaro.

The State House zonal industrial hubs were initiated by President Museveni in 2022 to minimise high unemployment levels among Ugandan youth.

Currently a total of about 19 zonal industrial hubs are already operational in the districts of Gulu, Lira, Zombo, Mbarara, Mbale, Kasese, Kyenjojo, Mubende, Kween, Masindi, Kayunga and Napak.

It is estimated that about 13.3 percent of youth aged between 18 and 30 years are unemployed in Uganda.

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