By Edwin Muhumuza
The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD)with support from the United Nations Development Program have launched the Graduate Volunteer Scheme (GVS).
The project aims at contributing to efforts of addressing persistent employment challenges faced by Ugandan young graduates by leveraging volunteerism as an essential mechanism for skills development.
It aims to create employment avenues for young graduates while building capacity of national institutions, private sector and other partners to mainstream youth employment into their work places. This while ensuring young graduates have a full-on job package that includes coaching, mentor ship, linkages to role models to guide them along their career path.
‘This is our contribution to the national strategy to increase availability and quality of employment and enhance human capital in this country. Said Rosa Malango ,the UN Resident Representative.
Volunteers are matched depending on the available placement opportunities. The process of matching and placing volunteers is led by the selection committee and both volunteers and host institutions have opportunity to participate in the recruitment process. Volunteers also go through a 3 days residential orientation training to induct them on their volunteer placements.
‘Through this scheme our aspirations is that total of 500 young graduates will be placed in various institutions for 12 months period at a time. During that time they will acquire skills related to their area of study.’ Malango added.
So far 100 graduates have been recruited, trained and placed,50% male and female,18% masters ,78% bachelors and 4% diploma/advanced certificate; and 5 graduates with disabilities.
On his part Permanent secretary Ministry of Gender Pius Birimana noted that ‘’This scheme is going to impart hands-on skill to graduates and should be noted that the future prosperity of this country depends ultimately on the number of persons in employment and also how productive they are at work’
According to the 2017 Uganda National Household Survey,78% of the population is below 30 years. Related to that every year about 600,000- 700,000 Ugandans enter the labor market,95% of whom are youth. Youth unemployment persists since many of them lack work experience, skills needed by the labor market plus limited connection to enterprise role models and innovative solutions.