Promote Uganda Company Limited (PROUL) is in advanced talks with Nkumba University to create an agro-processing skill hub at the Entebbe-based higher institution of learning.
During a meeting held on Thursday 1 February 2024, at the Vice Chancellor’s Board Room, Mr. David Nsubuga, Director-Promote Uganda Company Limited emphasized the pressing issue of youth unemployment in Uganda despite academic qualifications.
He cited limited space for industrial training and a theoretical academic orientation as key challenges. Nsubuga emphasized that the initiative aims to provide practical skills to students of all academic disciplines.
Nsubuga highlighted the need to expand job opportunities beyond traditional white-collar roles, stating, “Skilling has no boundaries; this program is open to all students, whether studying nursing or law.”
Acknowledging the low workforce and skills in agro-processing, he outlined the initiative’s focus on capacity building.
“We have realized that we can add value to Ugandan products but the skills needed and the workforce is still low, now we need to focus on capacity building and we can only achieve this by first of all establishing a skilling center where students can be exposed to agri-machinery, further be trained on how to add value to agricultural products and then help trainees run their business empires.”
PROUL awaits the university’s commitment to providing space and formalizing a memorandum of understanding to launch the initiative.
In response, Prof. Jude Lubega, Vice Chancellor of Nkumba University, expressed gratitude for the initiative and highlighted existing practical initiatives within the School of Sciences and the School of Computing & Informatics. Prof. Jude emphasized the university’s commitment to practical education and recognized PROUL’s potential for collaboration.
“Thank you for choosing Nkumba University, I believe this is a fertile ground for anything practical because we have all decided to take this direction. Our Dean from the School of Sciences has several practical innovations, and recently, he has been working on a mosquito repellent, we also have students from the School of Computing and Informatics who developed a smart home system, I think it is the right time and you are in the right place.”
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, youth constitute 68% of the population however, youth unemployment hit a whopping 70% as of 2021 and has not improved since then.
It is also estimated that over 600,000/= Youths enter the job market every year to compete for a meager 30,000 jobs, to make matters worse, employers further claim, that “majority fail to exhibit basic skills to suit the required job competencies.”
The partnership aims to address these issues by providing practical skills to equip youth with relevant skills for the ready job market in the agro-industry.
Promote Uganda Limited specializes in agro-machinery, offering products such as maize mills, grain grinders, potato slicers, vacuum sealers, food dryers, oil extractors, and packaging machines among others.
Pending a partnership agreement, the proposed skill hub will be set at Nkumba University’s main campus in Entebbe housing agricultural machinery with the capacity to train students and enhance the value of agricultural products.
The proposed skilling center will expose students to agri-machinery, provide training on value addition to agricultural products, and support trainees in establishing their business ventures.