Women empowerment: Skills development of girls through vocational training

When I visited Share Academy at the headquarters of Workforce Development Authority (WDA) on Tuesday, a group of girls were doing practical exams in hairdressing under the watchful eye of their trainers.

They were 38 students, all trained in a period of one year, starting January 2018. The programme aims at nurturing job creators through the skills provided. 

Esperance Nyangezi, a 23-year-old apprentice, said that she gained skills in hairdressing and that she plans to put these skills to good use.

“I had no skills in hairdressing before, however, I previously tried to learn from friends at home. When I got the chance to train at Share Academy, my skills drastically improved because it took us a whole year to learn,” she said.

She said that she can now do hairstyling for different people, and any style that a client requests.

“I will be able to generate income for my future wellbeing from the skills I have gained. I am ready to be self-employed and also provide jobs for others. I have to be a role model for the youth, and show them that hairdressing is a business that can curb unemployment among the youth,” she said.

“I want to set up my own hairdressing salon and manage it. I am ready to share my skills with others,” Nyangezi added.

Channela Mukabalisa, another trainee, said she joined the training centre because she had completed secondary school and could not afford to go for further studies.

“Many graduates from secondary school fail to get jobs but TVET training centres offer opportunities for girls and boys to acquire technical skills that boost employment chances, especially job creation,” she said.

Teta Mukama said that the academy has modern gear that arms students with the skills required for today’s labour market.

“We hope that with these training materials, graduates will perform well on the labour market. Some companies request for our students to do internship with them or work as full-time employees,” she said.

She urged graduates to have discipline and deliver great services to clients in order to be successful.

The leader of the trainers, Jacky Kabagema, said that this is the sixth group of trainees, adding that so far, over 270 students have been trained at the centre.

She explained that submissions of applications for another group are being received before they start training in January next year.

“We request applicants to give us school reports for ordinary level or a certificate for advanced level. We also look at vulnerable people since many of them apply for the support,” she said.

The Ministry of Education, through Workforce Development Authority (WDA), is on course to have at least 60 per cent of students complete the nine year basic education then join technical and vocational education and training (TVET) schools.

The institution is currently scaling up seven modules that aim at attracting more girls into joining, practicing and benefiting from TVET courses after assessing that girls’ enrolment in such courses is between 20 per cent and 40 per cent while the target is to have 50 per cent in these schools by 2020.