The New Times (Kigali)

29 October 2011

Rwanda: 2,600 Acquire Labour Market Skills

Kigali — About 2,600 youth, yesterday, successfully completed an intensive course in work-readiness skills under Akazi Kanoze, a skills training project.

Akazi Kanoze is a four year project aimed at developing a thriving youth livelihood support system in the country to increase the prosperity of not only the youth, but also the public and private institutions, that support and benefit from the young people's productive engagement in the society.

The exercise also targets to equip them with relevant job market skills, hands on training opportunities and links into employment and self-employment in the job market.

The training which was conducted by 24 local private institutions involved in various disciplines.

Speaking to The New Times, one of the graduates from Easter's Aid Institute, Paul Mukeshinema, said that the training equipped him with skills that will greatly help him in shaping his career.

"I trained in customer care management which enabled me to get a job before graduating. Currently I am working at Serena Hotel as a waiter and I am proud of my job," he said.

He said that before enrolling for the training under the auspices of Akazi Kanoze Project, he was jobless and miserable life, depending on his relatives to eke out a living.

The skills training project was organised by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Education Development Centre (EDC).

Patience Umusinga, another trainee from Maximedia Institute, stated that she has attained the necessary skills to start her own business.

"I am ready to create my own business as long as I get the start-up capital from any microfinance institution because I have gained all the required skills," she added.

The graduates included those who have just completed the programme, those under internship as well as those already in employment.

Officiating at the event, the Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, hailed the initiators of the project, saying it is a wonderful idea that addresses the challenges of unemployment in the country.

"Unemployment is still a challenge in our country, many young people graduate from universities and other higher institutions and still fail to secure jobs due to lack of relevant job market skills," he noted.

Murekezi called upon the graduates to utilise the acquired skills to create their own jobs and contribute to the economic development of the country.

The Akazi Kanoze Project started in 2009 and 2010, with close to 600 trainees graduating from the first cohort training.

According to the Rwanda Chief of Party at EDC, Melanie Sany, the graduates trained in various courses such as hospitality and services, construction, agribusiness, Information Communication Technology among others.

"We hope that these hands-on skills will better equip all of our graduates with skills, habits and networks that would help them sustain a good livelihood," she emphasised.

She said that the project targets 12,500 male and female youth with various education levels by September 2013, 5,000 of whom are orphans and vulnerable children between the ages of 14-24.

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