Electrical engineering expert volunteer Richard Asaku has raised educational standards that prepare young people for the world of modern work in the deprived Lindi and Mtwara regions of Tanzania, as part of a VSO project.
Its impact is clear. Before this programme less than one in three graduates were in work within two years of leaving school. Now more than half are employed within six months; a fantastic achievement thanks to the "Enhancing Employability Through Vocational Training" (EEVT) programme.
Find out about vacancies for Vocational training advisers
Local growth = local jobs
“When you look at Lindi, most investors employ people from outside the region. Why shouldn’t someone from Lindi get these jobs? Employers will tell you that they import labour force from elsewhere because they lack the skills here,” says Richard Asaku, a VSO electrical adviser volunteer from Uganda.
Richard is equipping local graduates with the skills, qualifications and experience to work in emerging industries such as oil and gas.
Following the discovery of 42.7 million cubic feet of natural gas potential off the Mtwara coast, VSO and Tanzania’s Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) jointly called major players in the oil and gas sector on-board. They wanted to find out which skills were needed to create new local jobs from gas exploration and resulting economic growth.
Richard’s work has contributed to the best academic results on record for vocational students. Exam pass rates rose to 86.92% in Lindi and Mtwara, a 10% improvement year-on-year – with Richard and his team of staff and students in electrical maintenance as the star performers.
He says, “It's an amazing feeling. I have found out I can teach, I can do facilitation, and I can do community work, which is making me feel more engaged. I feel my efforts are seen more vividly than before."
Helping young people reach their potential
These results matter. Lindi and Mtwara have very young populations, with the majority either unemployed, or in informal, irregular work.
Before EEVT, less than one in three VETA graduates was in work after two years. Now more than half find a job within six months, and greater numbers are being employed by large, international companies.
Students involved in vocational training programmes are excited about the opportunities that are opening up to them. Hussein Mwanda, 21, is in his second year of studying electrical engineering at the VETA centre in Lindi:
"To become an electrical engineer has been my dream since primary school. I heard there were many different opportunities at VETA Lindi through this project and VSO, which led me to study here.
"I believe our time will come through opportunities like this, our regions will be developed and there will be more happiness," says Mwanda.
More motivated teaching staff
Before VSO started its project here with the government and private sector, teachers had no formal vocational training qualifications. Majolla Mwigowe is one of those trainers who has been supported to build their skills and improve teaching, and is now holds a City & Guilds diploma:
"I feel really, really proud. It's not only about having an international qualification, but being able to better propare these students with the opportunities they have. Teaching is my calling"
Vacancies for vocational training advisors in Uganda
VSO have an ongoing need to recruit experienced vocational training advisors to increase the capacity of 5 vocational training institutes in Uganda to deliver industry recognised training and skills. This will enable local workers to develop the skills to take advantage of employment opportunities in the rapidly expanding oil and gas sector.
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