In a market with too many applicants and not enough jobs, getting experience is a catch-22; you need it to get jobs, you need a job to get it. It is not once that employers in Uganda have voiced their grievance of employing youth armed with theoretical knowledge and no practical experience.
It gets worse when the lack of experience blocks job opportunities for the youth, further exacerbating youth unemployment in the country.
In an effort to curb youth unemployment, MTN has taken a deliberate effort to equip youth with practical knowledge that is required in work places.
Graduate trainee program
Through the MTN Graduate trainee program, hundreds of youth in Uganda have undergone on-job training that has elevated their knowledge beyond the theoretical education attained at learning institutions. The program seeks to fast-track the career aspirations of youth in Uganda.
According to Michael Sekadde, MTN Uganda General Manager Human Resource, there is need for employers to provide opportunities for youth to attain the much needed experience that organisations require.
“At MTN, we believe in creating opportunities that will elevate the standard of living and improve the livelihood of the communities we serve. Through our graduate trainee program, we aim to achieve shared growth by passing on the knowledge and experience attained over the years to the young people who are also the future generation,” he said.
Sekadde also underscored the significance of partnerships in tackling youth unemployment noting that it requires collective effort in order to make progress.
It is with that context that MTN has also engaged like-minded partners determined to combat youth employment.
Victoria University experiential learning
MTN at the beginning of the year partnered with Victoria University (VU) to award 10 scholarships to youth. The education programs at Victoria University are uniquely designed to provide youth with work experience prior to graduation.
Speaking during a recent interview on television, Christine Nabayise, the Victoria University marketing executive said the University is the technologically enabled university of the time, driven by its authentic and experiential learning programs through Work-Integrated Learning.
“Victoria University and MTN have the same passion of enabling young people’s dreams come to life. Experiential learning means that by the time the youth graduate, they have two to three years’ work experience due to attachments made to companies during the course of their education at the university,” she explained.
The partnership between MTN and VU is a resounding determination by the telecom to extend experiential training to youth with the aim of curbing youth unemployment.
Nsindika Njake entrepreneurship show
Similarly, in partnership with Makerere University Business School, MTN Uganda recently launched a captivating youth entrepreneurship television show dubbed Nsindika Njake. The show aims at equipping youth with business skills envisaged to drive them to set up their own establishments thus creating more jobs.
The show which airs at 8:30pm every Wednesday on NBS TV involves practical utilization of skills on members of the public in accordance with training facilitated by MUBS such as customer care, sales and business ideation among others.
At the launch of the Nsindika Njake program recently, Somdev Sen, MTN Uganda’s Chief Marketing Officer said that the show would go a long way in addressing unemployment amongst the youth.
“Given the high rate of youth unemployment, many youths have taken the right path of starting small businesses but sadly, majority of them have not had the opportunity to get the skills required to effectively operate a business. We believe that this show will teach them how to navigate the day-to-day challenges that they face in their businesses and set them on a path to becoming better entrepreneurs,” Somdev said.
Youth skilling program
In the thick of the pandemic and massive job losses in 2020, MTN launched the MTN Youth Skilling Program through which youth were equipped with business technical and digital skills. The goal of the program was to empower youth to become job creators. By the end of 2021, about 100 youth had been trained, with some having already started their own businesses.