The New Times (Kigali)

10 November 2012

Rwanda: New Initiative to Boost Skills Development

The government has set up an initiative that will promote and improve the quality of labour force in the industrial sector.

This will see the establishment of Sector Skills Councils (SSC), that will bring together all stakeholders in the various industrial sub-sectors. The focus will rotate around building the capacity of the workforce to enable it to effectively respond to changes in demand.

As part of the initiative, the first SSC targeting the mining sector was established on Wednesday.

Addressing the media, the acting Head of Human Capital and Institutional Development at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Apollo Munanura, said the target is to have at least eight Councils by 2013.

"Our focus is to ensure that we develop a competent workforce that will be able to address challenges that can arise with time, and this will automatically lead to having an innovative industrial sector," said Munanura.

He explained that the move is also expected to address issues connected to technological changes, quality standards, planning and human resource development.

"As RDB, we are committed to supporting this programme since it even brings on board executives, operators of small firms, employees, educators, among others, and we are sure that it will serve a purpose," he said.

Munanura pointed out that the initiative coincides with RDB's identification of a need to bridge the gaps and shortage of skills in various industrial sub-sectors as well as improve productivity and performance.

RDB officials further said that this would create more opportunities based on the relevance of training programmes to be conducted to build the capacity of each employee. RDB will support the activities of SSC especially in facilitating networking amongst key players in the implementation of strategies that will enhance the labour market.

Jean Malic Kalimba, the president of Rwanda Miners Association who doubles as Regional Director of Wolfram Ltd -a mining company, was elected as chairman of the mining SSC.

In his speech, Kalimba hailed the move saying it demonstrates government's commitment towards promoting the private sector.

"Among others, our field requires skilled labour to overcome any kind of risks that may arise in the process," Kalimba said.

He noted that the private public partnership in the sector will enable miners to engage in modern mining methods as well as abiding by the law in their daily activities.

The mining sector has in the past been mired in controversy with instances of illegal mining, mining without appropriate equipment thereby exposing employees to danger, child labour, amongst others, being reported.

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