Patrobas Katambi, the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Labour, Youth, Employment & Persons with Disability), told the National Assembly yesterday that apart from agri-business training, a number of young people and graduates have also benefited with training on essential professional skills which would help them compete well in the labour market.
He was responding to a question from Dr Thea Ntara (Special Seats) who sought to know government plans to increase the scope of employment opportunities for college graduates especially in the agriculture sector.
Dr Ntara said thousands of university graduates are on the streets, jobless while the country has plenty of land for agriculture but the major challenge is that they do not have essential skills to venture into the sector.
The deputy minister responded that the sixth phase government was determined to help the youth to secure employment through initiating small and medium scale projects to offer outlets from the limited opportunities in formal jobs market.
The government is implementing several programmes to address the situation, including the National Youth Skills Development Programme, which has been providing training on smart farming using green houses, irrigation and other technologies. These can be used to venture into agriculture and improve their incomes, he said.
Through the programme which was launched some years ago, a total of 12,580 young people including graduates from various agricultural colleges have been benefited and initiated small projects,” he stated.
The government is also implementing an internship training program for college graduates by connecting them with local and foreign employers, where around 6,624 graduates have been trained.
The Incubation Centres Program which has already been implemented in Morogoro and Coast regions has seen 1,000 graduates trained in agricultural and entrepreneurship activities, he affirmed.
A block farming programme was started where 39 graduates were trained to set up agriculture projects countrywide, he said.
The ministry is working with the Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO) to train youths, where around 703 youths have benefited from agriculture training in Israel and the United States, he stated.
The Prime Minister’s Office in collaboration with the ministry has launched a plan, ‘building a better tomorrow’ targeting graduates and non-graduate youth, he further noted.
In this program, PMO will be taking up training of young people and the ministry provides land, capital and infrastructure in agro-parks or farm blocks, plus connecting them to markets, he said.
There is a huge gap between the graduates and needs of the current market demand, he observed, noting that this arises from the lack of required labour skills, side-lining the majority of graduates from jobs expected in various sectors.
Estimates suggest that 800,000 young men and women enter the labour market each year, chiefly school leavers and college graduates, but along with young people migrating from rural areas to urban areas. Unemployment among youths aged 15 to 34 years was statistically around 13.4 per cent, he added.