Business

Skills Development Facility to Reduce Unemployment in Uganda

Chief Executive Officer of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Gidion Badagawa

Of 2 million graduates that come out of higher institutions of learning every year, only 5% have the practical and soft skills that are needed to be deployed in a company.

This is mainly because most institutions, especially universities focus on the theoretical part of learning while ignoring practical skills due to poor planning as well as lack of equipment.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Gidion Badagawa, most youth are unemployed not because jobs are not there in Uganda, but because they lack the hands on skills that can make them competitive in the job market.

“What the labour market needs is different to what training/teaching students are offering to the students. No one is going to employ them if there are not bringing any value,” Badagawa said.

However, this challenge is being addressed by government in partnership with World Bank and PSFU through the Skills Development Facility grants(SDF).

According to Badagawa, this project which PSFU is implementing on behalf of the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development will help in promoting employer led short term training on order to address prevailing skills imbalances and shortages in Uganda.

“Uganda has one of the least labour productivity in the world. This is discouraging considering the efforts government has put in providing education. Our education system is not working and that’s why we have an alarming rate of unemployment,” he said.

He added: “With these Grants, we want to facilitate training institutions, industries and companies that can offer internship training to students especially in areas of agriculture, construction and manufacturing and other areas that the Grant committee will find relevant.”

SDF is part of the $100m Uganda skills development project, which is a government of Uganda project funded by the world Bank and implemented by the PSFU.

The faculty is a 5-year project implemented through a grant facility mechanism that will be co-financed by the private sector through a matching grant contribution

According to Frederick Mugisa, Grants specialist SDF, the grants will be offered in four windows.

The first window will involve skills shortage in the formal sector. This will be given to medium and large enterprises that offer internship and training programs to students.

Under window 2 is skills shortage in informal sector to be given to self employed, workers and apprentices in the informal sector, especially small scale enterprises.

Window three is for institutions that are developing innovative training program, while window 4 will be for prior learning mainly for industry organisations, trade unions and training institutions that can build testing and accreditation centers.

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