When Saphia Mukagasana graduated from University of Lay Adventists of Kigali (UNILAK) in 2016, her efforts to secure a job were fruitless.
“I tried (to look for a job) but I failed. It was, perhaps, because there are many graduates competition for few jobs on the market,” says Mukagasana, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Economic Science and Management.
Frustrated by the challenges in the job market, early this year, Mukagasana decided to enrol for a three-month vocational training programme at the Musanze-based Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC).
Carpentry was among other trades that unemployed youth pursued at IPRC Musanze. Régis Umurengezi
She was one of the 53 university graduates who enrolled for short courses in vocational training.
Their intake of 220 students was dominated by A-Level graduates and a few other students who never completed secondary school education.
They received various skills ranging from carpentry, masonry, food processing as well as domestic electrical installation, culinary art and hospitality management among others.
The IPRC Musanze principal, Emile Abayisenga hands over a certiicate to one of the short-term vocational training programme beneficiaries. Régis Umurengezi
Now, Mukagasana, who was trained in food processing and culinary arts – the courses particularly designed for university graduates – is keen on expanding her cake baking business, which she started recently.
“I can’t apply for jobs anymore since I am now able to create my own job,” she said at the graduation ceremony over weekend, adding that; “I am now able to make juices, ketchup, yogurt, cheese and butter among other products.”
She recommends university graduates struggling to secure jobs to enrol for vocational programmes so they can develop the skills to do business.
Unemployed university graduates who complete a three-month food processing course at IPRC Musanze explain to officials some of their products that they personally manufacture. Régis Umurengezi
Heri Rukundo, another university graduate says that his degree in economics and rural development was not enough to help him get a job, hence forcing him to enrol for a short course in vocational training.
“My fellow graduates who are still struggling to get jobs can take the same route and pursue vocational studies. It pays off.”
For Emile Abayisenga, the Principal of IPRC-Musanze, vocational schools were introduced as part of the country’s efforts to bridge the skills shortage.
Abayisenga commended the students who successfully completed their courses.
Officials advised the graduates from Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to take advantage of existing government subsidies.
In order to encourage entrepreneurship, the government gives incentives to business cooperatives started by people who graduated from TVET with certificates
The graduates get Rwf500,000 worth of start-up capital while the cooperative gets a subsidy of 50 per cent.