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Employability of graduates in Uganda

The challenge

How might we enhance soft and technical skills and thus the employability of graduates from vocational and higher education institutions in Uganda?


© GIZ / photothek.net / Ute Grabowsky
© GIZ / photothek.net / Ute Grabowsky

Over 68% of the Ugandan population is at the age of 0-24 years. Therefore, in the upcoming years, 1 million young people are entering the labor market every two years. Currently, young people have very few opportunities to acquire practical skills. Mandatory 2-months internships are absolutely insufficient and the education curriculum is too theoretical. As a consequence, young people do not possess the necessary practical skills. This lack of practical skills results in a significantly low employability.

Enhancing the soft and technical skills of graduates is key to increase their employability. However, this endeavour entails several obstacles:

  • Currently, educational institutions lack the necessary resources to provide practical experience.

  • The private sector hardly offers access to practical experiences for undergraduates.

  • Lack of publication and advertisement of vacancies.

  • Due to the unsatisfying skills and performance of Ugandan graduates, companies import skilled labor from foreign countries.

Business potential & stakeholders

© GIZ/Nahom Tesfaye
© GIZ/Nahom Tesfaye

Youth’s labour potential in Uganda represprents a valuable human resource, which is so far largely untapped. Increasing the employability of young people essentially benefits both graduates and employers. Consequently, tackling the largely neglected labor market in Uganda represents a great business opportunity. There are various possibilities to enhance soft and technical skills of graduates, such as the advancement of training programs, self-marketing programs, practical open source trainings (MOOCs) and dual studies. Besides, improving the labor market information system by developping the display of current vacancies and wanted profiles, is a crucial possibility. Developing innovative business solutions to solve this challenge requires the cooperation of diverse stakeholders, such as…

  • Students, graduates and vocational and higher education institutions

  • SMEs and MNCs active in the field of IT, communication, education, etc.

  • Associations like the Private Sector Foundation (PSFU) and the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA),

  • Other institutions active in the field of vocational trainings

  • Local government representatives