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Refugees reap from hotel apprenticeship

 

Some of the apprentices at the graduation ceremony at Kampala Sheraton Hotel

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ninety five refugees have completed training in hotel and tourism management. This is part of on partnership on Inclusive Jobs and Education for Host Communities, Refugees, and other Forcibly Displaced Persons, a joint initiative of ILO, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), UNICEF, the World Bank, and the International Finance Corporation.

The partnership, a multi-year program, funded by the government of the Netherlands, is aimed to devise collaborative and innovative approaches for inclusive job creation and education in contexts characterized by forced displacement.

Karin Boven, the Dutch Ambassador in Uganda emphasized the need to economically empower refugees.

“Apprenticeships are an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop, leading to more ownership over one’s life. The Embassy of the Netherlands is proud to be a partner of ILO Prospects in their support of apprentices from refugee settlements and host communities throughout Uganda,” she said.

Uganda Hotel Owners Association Chairperson Susan Muhwezi commended the ILO and the Ministry of Gender for their commitment to education and skills development.

She also commended the graduates on their resilience and determination, through which they are contributing to the development of Uganda.

According to ILO, at least 67 percent of the graduates have already either got employment at the various hotels or started their own projects.

Richard Kawere, the Principal at the hotel training institute said the trainees were not empowered to only look for jobs.

“Some have used the acquired skills to start their own businesses and will be able to grow and create employment opportunities for other youth. For those still seeking opportunities, I advise you to put the skills you have acquired to use. I don’t expect Food Production students from UHTTI to forget to start up an income-generating project under whatever circumstances,” he said.

Stressing the importance of ILO’s focus on youth employment, Stephen Opio, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO Prospects Programme in Uganda emphasized that apprenticeship programs play a pivotal role in increasing employability and decent job opportunities for refugees and host communities alike.

The program encompasses three pillars, namely inclusive jobs, education, and protection.

It operates in eight countries across East Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East employing an area-based approach, in which the partner agencies jointly focus their activities on selected regions within each country.

The apprenticeship program focuses on improving the skills and capacities of refugees and members of the host communities to make them more employable and match the needs of the labor market.

In collaboration with the Uganda Hotel Owners Association, Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute, and the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, ILO has implemented the apprenticeship program in the hotel sector where 95 candidates.

The first cohort of apprentices was picked from Rhino Camp and Nakivale refugee settlements and their host communities, and trained for 12 months and the Jinja-based institute.

They were then deployed across 40 of the top and popular hotels and resorts across the country for their workplace training.

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