University students from across the country are set to benefit from a project that seeks to nurture their employability skills and expose their potential to the labour market both in the country and at the international level.
Dubbed African Centre for Career Enhancement and Skills Support (ACCESS), the project was virtually unveiled on Tuesday with prospective beneficiaries following proceedings online in observance with social distancing measures in place to fight Covid-19.
The five-year project brings together the Germany-based Leipzig University and universities from six African countries; Rwanda, Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tunisia.
It will secure 30.8million Euros from the Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to ensure it meets its objectives, according to officials.
Father Fabien Hagenimana, the rector of Musanze District-based Ruhengeri Institute of Applied Sciences (INES), one of partner universities noted that the project was timely and crucial and he believes it will boost the employability of their graduates.
"Job creation is among Rwanda's top priorities as per the National Strategy for Transformation; we thus believe to contribute to efforts meant to fast-track our country's development as the project sets to equip universities with whatever it takes to offer the market with employable graduates," he noted.
Gonzalves Nshimiyima, the country coordinator for ACCESS explained that the project will among other activities engage students and other actors in research meant to find a solution to unemployment, noting that some students will also be given scholarships to pursue PhD studies.
Prof. Utz Dornberger, the ACCESS project leader noted that they look forward to contributing to efforts meant to address the challenge of the high number of unemployed African university graduates, regardless of the growing number of universities for the continent.
"Numbers of university graduates continue to increase massively. We must, therefore, work together with our colleagues in Africa to offer young talents a professional future at their own doorstep. ACCESS can make a significant structural and methodological contribution in this regard and upscale its interventions to a network of 30 universities," He noted
Théophile Shyiramunda, 29, and a Rwandan national selected through ACCESS project to pursue PhD at Leipzig University told The New Times that he had submitted a research proposal on the discrepancy between university graduates and market labour.
Shyiramunda noted that he was set to use knowledge and skills he will acquire to help his native country deal with unemployment by particularly disseminating his research findings for decision makers to plan accordingly.