Internship program to give graduates working skills
In order to improve the supply side on the job market, RDB has initiated an internship program to give graduates a chance to gain professional experience.
The internship program, coordinated by the Human and Institutional Capital Development department at RDB, has recently placed 230 graduates some 30 organizations that agreed to offer the recruits a six-month internship.
The new intern program comes in addition to other youth employment programs such as the Akazi Kanoze (excellent work) by Mifotra and that of the Educational Development Center, a USAID project that equips the graduates with entrepreneur skills.
Moreover, the graduates have been placed in positions that provide them with the required exposure to boost their skills. According to Anna Mugabo, the director general of labor and employment promotion in Mifotra, among the areas they’ve been allocated to are ICT and accounting.
However, the interns are also advised to make use of the internship to engage themselves also in other activities that add to their skills. As Mugabo explains, given the fact that they are allocated to specific posts, they often lack the curiosity to learn other tasks that are of interest to their profession.
But she also cautions that learning new skills doesn’t mean that one has to break the company’s rules or underestimate some of tasks they are assigned to. On the contrary, respecting an organization’s rules should be among the values of a responsible employee.
Here she refers to interns who at times fail to do tasks that are not in line with their profession even though they are requested to do so; for instance a banker would find it inappropriate to mop his office floor.
“This is an opportunity for you to market yourself, therefore don’t be proud because you have a degree, always do your best to acquire the necessary skills since you might be hired,” Mugabo points out.
She further points out that in the previous internship intake, 20 out of the 65 interns secured jobs. In addition, those who have not been employed during their internship period are advised to group themselves and come up with activities that could be funded by the program.
Robert Bayigamba, the Private Sector Federation chairman, welcomes the latter initiative saying that self-employment reduces one’s dependency on the job market. He rather advises the interns to form enterprises since they do not only give them a chance to develop their careers but also contribute to the country’s economy.
Apollo Munanura, the director of skills development at RDB, for his part explains that for some professions there are no local competent institutions where interns can gain relevant experience. For instance, last month the program sent two IT graduates to work in some of the IT firms in India, and in May others with specialties in agriculture will go to the USA.
Meanwhile, some organizations are not willing to accommodate interns, since they believe it is a waste of time and resources. Mifotra’s Anna Mugabo however says that there is no reasonable excuse not to accept interns, given that the program has measures in place that ensure interns are not a. For example, each intern receives a daily transport allowance while those working in risky conditions are provided with an insurance cover.
She admits though that due to their inexperience there is a higher risk with interns that they might damage equipment, as some companies point out, yet she points out that a compensation mechanism for such cases is being worked upon. On the other hand, she says, interns are exactly there to be trained, so they should be closely followed all the time, especially when using specialized equipment.
At the same time, however, the program also closely monitors how they interns are progressing, since in the past there have been complaints about abuse by bosses who use the interns for their private business.