Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) has registered success in implementing the internship programme under the Ministry of Education and Sports’ Higher Education Science and Technology (AfDB V – HEST) Project.
According to Allan Senyondwa, the UMA-HEST project co-ordinator, UMA was supposed to skill 2,000 interns, 10% of them having done arts subjects and 90% from science background. However, Senyondwa says at the time of recruitment, the number of interns doubled. “Our target was to skill 2,000 interns, however, a total of 5,502 interns were registered and trained. This shows success,” he says.
Gilbert Kibekityo, the internship training officer at the UMA-HEST project, says out of the 5,502 interns that were skilled, 3,445 have already been placed and 1,436 are employed in different professions. Kibekityo says from the survey carried by UMI last year, 346 interns had already started small scale medium enterprises.
“Among these, we have Hillary Mbabazi, who started Abarcom Technologies which has spearheaded the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda initiative,” he says. Kibekityo applauds Mbabazi for creating a platform where people can conduct businesses.
He also says the survey being conducted from the interns’ results shows that their mindsets have changed. “On average, we discovered that it takes five years for a graduate to get professional jobs. However, all this has changed due to the HEST project,” he says.
Kibekityo explains that the project has helped interns to easily transition into the professional world because many were either retained after training in their internship placements or referred to other places of work. Challenges faced According to Kibekityo, many interns had high expectations as regards to securing internship placements within Kampala.
“Many interns did not want to be placed in companies that are based upcountry because many think opportunities can only be got from within the city centre,” he says. Kibekityo also says universities tend to largely teach theory, which made many interns find challenges with the practical sessions. However, he applauds the education ministry for the opportunity accorded to Uganda’s youth. “If such opportunities continue to be availed, there will be more jobs created, leading to the reduction in the levels of unemployment in Uganda,” Kibekityo says.