Youth in the country have been urged to seek knowledge, and hands-on skills and love work in order to fit in the highly competitive labour market.
“You can’t do a good job if you don’t have the right knowledge and skills and love for it. Work hard and don’t fear to take risks. Start today,” said Jerome Gasana, the director general of the Workforce Development Authority (WDA).
He was speaking at the launch of Akazi Kanoze Access (AKA), a local non-governmental organisation which seeks to contribute to the reduction of unemployment in the country.
During Tuesday event in Kigali, more than 800 youths who trained in various skills were given certificates.
Akazi Kanoze started in 2009 as a project implemented by Education Development Centre (EDC) under USAID funding.
About 20,000 youths trained under the project while 2, 500 new businesses were created.
In order to sustain and scale up the project’s models, Akazi Kanoze Access was created last year.
Since then, the organisation has trained 1,622 youths in employability skills, among others.
Gasana, said Akazi Kanoze programme aligns with the government’s vision to promote human resource development and knowledge-based economy.
“We acknowledge the work done by Akazi Kanoze. We appreciate the partnership to develop the government’s initiative of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET). We will continue to work together with AKA and other partners,” he said.
Gasana said the organisation is actively contributing toward achieving the government’s goal to create 200,000 off-farm jobs per year.
More than 140,000 jobs are currently being created annually.
Akazi Kanoze officials say 65 per cent of their graduates are employed six months after graduation.
According to Jacques Sezikeye, the executive director of AKA, the organisation’s five-year strategic plan seeks to provide employability skills, facilitate access to capital, and support access to market, among others.
Its curriculum consists subjects that equip students with market relevant skills. They include entrepreneurship, communication, professional ethics, labour law and leadership, among others.
Claire Uwamariya, one of the graduates, said she acquired skills that shaped her and made her determined to create her own business.
“We won’t rest until we create our own businesses,” she said.
Anna Mugabo, the director general of labour and employment at the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, commended partners working with the government in addressing unemployment challenges in the country.
“We cannot talk about development when there is a big number of unemployed youths, which is currently estimated at 4. 5 million,” she said.
She said unemployment is caused by limited capacity to develop the labour force due to low investment, low economic productivity, an underdeveloped agriculture sector (which employs more than 70 per cent of the population), among other factors.
To address this, the government initiated TVET programme to help equip citizens with employability skills.
Workplace learning policy also provides work experience through apprenticeship, internship, induction training, among others.
“The work of Akazi Kanoze Access comes to complement and support government’s efforts to fight unemployment, equipping students with skills that enable them to become self-employed or competent employees,” she said.
Mugabo urged the youth to avoid ignoring so-called ‘‘simple jobs and instead do any available work”.