The private sector has been urged to embrace internship and industrial attachment programmes as they have the capacity to boost a company’s productivity and profitability.
Matti Tominga, the Koblenz Rwanda project manager, said industrial training helps sharpen professional and practical skills of students to meet the required capabilities demanded by the private sector. He added that industrial attachment helps create labour force with practical experience and employable skills.
Tominga was speaking during a workshop on how to boost the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme in the country on Tuesday in Kigali.
Stefan Gustav, the director for vocational training centre HWK Koblenz in Germany, said internship also gives employers a platform to test skills and knowledge of trainees, which helps align them with the company interests.
Gustav argued that equipping interns with skills, like business management and social competencies, could help them save the money they would have otherwise spent on hiring new staff.
“To engage people from labour market may be expensive. If the trainees watch what happens and are hard working, they are well placed to acquire the best skills,” Gustav said.
According to Judith Katarabwa, the division manager at the National Capacity Building Secretariat (NCBS), most private sector players do not understand the importance of internship, which poses a big challenge to students seeking industrial placement.
“Some companies don’t even give sufficient time to the trainees during internship hence limited skills development,” Katabarwa noted.
She noted that there is also a big challenge, where the number of applicants exceeds available internship opportunities in government or private sector firms.
Robert Bayigamba, the chairman of the Rwanda Association of Manufacturers (RAM), said lack of skills is one of the main constraints facing the manufacturing sector.
“Many industries find it hard to source the right skills, which affects the profitability and competitiveness of the sector as sometimes we have to import labour,” Bayigamba said.
Dr Evellina Parvonova, the head of international projects at Germany’s Chamber of Skilled Crafts Koblenz, said industrial training gives fresh graduates work exposure and experience, builds occupational competencies, besides deepening their technical skills to enhance their employability.