In today's rapidly evolving job market, there is success in equipping young people with appropriate practical skills that can enable them to earn a decent living beyond formal employment. Many youths face barriers and limitations that diminish their employment prospects.
According to the World Bank, 700,000 Ugandan youth enter the labour force each year, making them one of the country's most abundant assets. However, job opportunities for young people remain limited in different sectors of the economy. Nearly 40% of Ugandan youth aged 18-30 are not in employment, education, or training, and 57% are employed in vulnerable jobs. Underutilization of the labour potential among youth undermines the very important human resource in the country and is a key impediment to equitable economic progress.
However, vocational skills training is increasingly playing an important role in enhancement of the labour market. Some of the important skills set for the youth include masonry, carpentry, plumbing, welding, and electric installation. Several Ugandans who have acquired these skills are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Kutosi David is an example of a good product of vocational training in Uganda who graduated in plumbing at Mbale School of the Deaf.
In an interview, Kutosi said, "I am so privileged to have been part of a vocational training program. I am an achiever because a friend of mine informed me about this opportunity and I decided to enroll. Through this, I have been able to attain expertise in plumbing." Kutosi is one of the 2165 beneficiaries who recently graduated from the KCB –GIZ Twekozese Programme, a youth empowerment programme that was initiated by KCB Bank Uganda and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in July 2021.
The collaboration between the two organisations is a shared vision of empowering youth and breaking down barriers to employment. This initiative not only equips young individuals with the tools for success but also fosters a more inclusive society that values and embraces diversity. Another shining example of vocational training is Wejuli Emmanuel, who had been struggling with raising school fees. Wejuli graduated in welding from Jinja Vocational Technical Institute and his dedication and comprehensive training empowered him to confidently enter the job market. Today, Wejuli is a successful welder who has established his own workshop in Walukuba, Jinja district.
His story highlights the transformative impact of vocational skills training, on the lives of young individuals. Nampijja Shadidah, who faces a hearing disability, defied the odds and also graduated from Mbale School of the Deaf. She acquired carpentry skills to secure employment and build a sustainable livelihood. "As a deaf girl, I have been struggling to acquire skills let alone secure employment. I cannot thank KCB Bank enough for their commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that individuals with disabilities like me are given equal opportunities to succeed,” Nampijja said.
Diana Komukama Ssempebwa, Head of Marketing and Communications at KCB Bank expressed pride in the achievements of these remarkable individuals. "Our partnership with GIZ aims to create a sustainable future for the youth by equipping them with relevant skills. The success stories of Kutosi, Musasizi, and Nampijja demonstrate that investing in skill development has a profound impact on individuals and communities," she said in a separate interview. “We are happy to realize the enormous potential that every individual possesses, regardless of their history or circumstances. More young people will be empowered to excel following collaborations like these, creating a successful and inclusive future for Uganda," Komukama concluded.