With meticulous concentration students are welding doors and
windows at the St-Simon Peter Vocational Training Centre in Hoima. Here, the
Skills development Fund (SDF) of the Support to Skilling Uganda project subsidizes
a 9-month basic welding and metal fabrication program for 18 trainees. 20-year
old Grace Kemigisa is one of them. “This
training teaches me the importance of practical skills.”
After Grace’s father died, her mother was unable to pay her university fees. So when Grace learned through the local radio of the SDF-subsidized trainings at St-Simon Peter, she applied. “Before I was trying to study Business Administration to find a white-collar job. But this training has changed my attitude. With practical skills you can find work much faster.” 12 out of the 18 trainees are girls, which is remarkable as welding is generally a male-dominated profession. The SDF-trainings aim for gender equality by targeting at least 30% enrolment of girls.
The 9 month-training will earn Grace a Worker’s Pass, provided by the Ugandan Directorate of Industrial Training. This certificate shall prove her skills countrywide. After graduation, Grace wants to work in the oil-and gas industry. She and her fellow students already gained practical experience during a two-month industrial training at the Bwendero Dairy farm, as part of their 9-month basic welding and metal fabrication training. This makes them more confident to take the tests for the companies that recruit for the oil-and gas industry.
The SDF subsidizes an additional 6 trainees in Motor Vehicle body works, plus 6 more in motorcycle repair. According to Program Coordinator Muhumuza Emmanuel “The SDF has really benefited these trainings. It enabled us to buy a compressor to paint vehicles and provided trainees with personal protective wear. With the high demand for mechanics to repair motorcycles in the Hoima District, our graduates won’t stay unemployed after their training.”
The Skills Development Fund in Albertine-Rwenzori aims at sustainably improving the quality of technical and vocational trainings through public-private partnerships, in order to enhance the youth’s employability.