Officials in charge of overseeing the implementation of the national technical and vocational education and training (TVET), last week, welcomed unemployed fresh graduates to apply for short-term TVET courses that have been designed for university graduates to enhance their chances of getting jobs and creating their own employment.
They said that more than 300 varsity students have already completed the largely three-month courses, especially in the fields of culinary art, food processing, multimedia, and automobile, during the pilot phase, while another 200 have since enrolled for similar courses that are being conducted in all the five Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centres countrywide and three other TVET centres for now.
A significant number of those who have already acquired these hands-on skills have been hired within just a matter of months and weeks, yet they had been on the streets looking for a job in vain for at least a year after completing university.
This is a significant development.
It reflects a positive trend; that the youth are increasingly embracing TVET.
According to the 2013/14 Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV4), unemployment among university graduates stood at 13.5 per cent, with some graduates and employers complaining that some of the knowledge that’s imparted to learners through the conventional education system, including at the university level, was largely not responsive to the prevailing needs on the labour market.
On the contrary, TVET courses are seen as more compatible with the demands of the labour market, which explains why as many as 73 per cent of TVET graduates get employed within six months of their graduation, according to a recent TVET graduates traceability study.
The study also showed that 75 per cent of employers were satisfied with the skills possessed by youths from the TVET system.
A TVET graduate also stands a higher chance of succeeding in the world of entrepreneurship compared to their counterpart from the classic education system.
These realities might explain why some fresh graduates are taking a wise decision to enroll for TVET courses to acquire skills that are increasingly proving to be more marketable in the world of work.
With the government’s programme to empower university graduates with hands-on, relevant skills still accessible free of charge under the Kora-Wigire scheme, every youthful university graduate should move to acquire a skill or two through this programme to boost their chances of getting employed and improve their competitiveness on the labour market.
In particular, unemployed graduates should grab this opportunity with both hands.
We also urge the government, particularly the National Employment Programme (NEP) and the Workforce Development Authority (WDA), to consider extending this programme to university graduates who outside of the targeted range (one-two years after graduation) to make sure it benefits as many youths as possible and have a greater impact on the economy.