Rwanda Development Board has urged the private sector to create more job opportunities by availing internship for university graduates that eventually make them marketable on the labour market.
Caleb Tumusiime, who is in charge of internship program at RDB told Sunday Times that the call to the private sector is founded on the fact that a recent survey revealed that internship opportunities for university graduates in private and public institutions help them get or create jobs as part of curbing unemployment among the youth.
He was responding to the unemployment challenge among the youth after a learning discussion conference that brought different stakeholders concerned with social inclusion policies which is keen on including youth in different development projects.
Figures from National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) show that unemployment among graduates of tertiary education is at 18% while those who completed High School stands at 23%.
Tumusiime said that in order to curb such levels of unemployment, internship programs should be further supported by the private sector which plays a big role in equipping the graduates with practical skills demanded on the labour market and job creation.
“The internship program helps young graduates from Universities to transfer their skills to different institutions with different domains but also acquire field skills needed on labour market. We recently conducted a survey and found out that about 60 per cent of these graduates get jobs and create their own employment after completing internship in private and public institutions,” he said.
He said that at least between 1,500 and 1,800 university graduates are placed in institutions for internship and received Rwf58, 000 monthly stipends besides other financial support provided by companies in which they carry out internship.
“Most of them save part of that facilitation fees and start their own small businesses. We urge private sector to engage more university young graduates in their companies to enhance job opportunities. We even see some private companies’ owners come to us requesting to link graduates to them for internship and job opportunities,” he said.
The official added that RDB has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate in deploying young graduates into the agriculture sector under such internship programs to help farmers increase productivity.
“Such graduates also come up with the job creation spirit and get employed by farmers’ cooperatives after spending a period working together,” he said.
Melanie Bittle, the Chief of party at “Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth project’ which is funded by USAID said youth and university graduates must be included into cooperatives, SMES and companies which focus in agriculture so as to provide jobs to graduates.
The intervention is based on the fact that youth are not visible in agricultural cooperatives and companies yet there are opportunities in using improved technologies and ICT in the agriculture sector, she said.
She said that as a way of supporting the internship program in collaboration with Rwanda agriculture ministry, the project helped to deploy over 263 graduates of which 193 were female to agricultural 15 SMES and 86 cooperatives this year.
“We deployed different categories of graduates including those who studied agriculture and animal resources but also in finance and marketing to help improve production but also financial literacy.
Internship also exposes such graduates to the demand of working place and practical experience, become marketable on the labour market and in job creation as they receive over Rw50,000 monthly facilitation fees,” she said.