There is need to devise new ways to support fresh graduates, many of whom with ideas that can employ other people, senators said yesterday.
They made the observation while meeting the National Labour Council. The two sides discussed various issues rotating around financing fresh graduate ideas, looking into how knowledge is imparted to students in higher institutions of learning and skills auditing, among others.
Senator Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo started off by telling those in attendance that there was need for the masses to know exactly what the National Labor Council does so that its benefits are maximised by more people.
“If you stepped out here and asked civil servants or Rwandans in general about this Council, I wonder how many would say they know it,” he said.
He added that some of his colleagues have had opportunities of meeting fresh graduates with ideas that could help employ many people but lack funding.
The senator explained that he recently had a lengthy conversation with a fresh graduate with a detailed and well thought out idea of producing sanitary pads from banana fibers but the idea had stalled due to Business Development Fund (BDF)’s requirements.
“We should not keep some of these initiatives in theory. There are others in Kirehe who would have been employing many people and promoting off-farm jobs but lack funding. Yet when the Auditor General’s report is presented, you are told BDF money is going to waste,” he said.
Senator Ntawukuriryayo said that there was need to look into how more internships can be created and monitored so that students leave when they have gained something tangible that can help them join the workforce.
Senator Narcisse Musabeyezu said that while the Government had put in place many avenues for “us to use to develop ourselves like ministries and now the National Labour Council, there was need for follow-ups to see that it is quality labour”.
“The ultimate aim is to see that work is done well. The issue of competency keeps coming up. We employ people based on their qualifications but we need to carry out an assessment of whether these jobs are being done well. We need a skills audit,” he said.
He added that there was need to work with institutions like Workforce Development Authority (WDA) and universities to find out exactly how knowledge is imparted.
“We need to sit with them and tell them that their students lack soft skills. We need to go in and find out exactly how they are taught. Is it only formulas, perhaps?” he said.
Senator Laurent Nkusi noted that the labour force was still plagued by different issues and there was need for preventive measures.
“There are still cases of injustice in the workforce, ranging from recruitment to dismissals and lack of promotions. What preventative role is being played by managers to see that solutions are found before problems escalate?” he wondered.
Service sector leading
The Minister for Public Service ad Labour, Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa, said the service sector was still leading with employers who follow rules when it comes to respecting labour laws.
“It is not exactly where we would wish it to be but the service sector is leading at 70 per cent. In other areas, it is still very low and we need to improve,” she said.
Rwanyindo also said that there had been some improvement in the area of conflict management where 80.6 per cent of the work-related conflicts were solved amicably and the rest in court. She, however, added that more efforts were needed to improve employer-employee relations.