The program enables young people to be job creators and not job seekers

It is estimated that in Tanzania at least 800,000 young people enter the labor market each year, with only about 40,000 formal jobs available.

While entrepreneurship paves the way for economic independence for young people, especially in areas where formal employment opportunities are scarce, it is unfortunate that most indigenous youth often lack the practical skills they need to succeed as entrepreneurs.

To this end, between 2014/15, the Tanzanian government, with the support of the World Bank (WB), decided to conduct an extensive research, the vital study which found that a huge percentage of the local youth, educated and uneducated, must be equipped with potential skills to venture into different key productive sectors.

Additionally, vital research that was conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology explored in more detail that most young graduates in the country lack key skills to make them employable, but they must also be empowered in critical thinking. as well as in initiative and innovation, responsibility, adaptability and resilience.

To achieve this, the World Bank (WB) has injected the Government of Tanzania with a total of $120 million to support the implementation of the 10-year National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS 2016/17-2025/26) .

The ongoing national strategy which aims to complement the government’s efforts to achieve the economy set for 2025 is being implemented by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in cooperation with various like-minded institutes from the private sectors and public.

The Tanzania Education Authority (TEA) is one of the dynamic public institutes mandated by the government to help implement the program through the Skills Development Fund (SDF) under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST).

“The SDF is a product of the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) and an Education and Skills for Productive Jobs Program (ESPJ),” said Masozi Nyirenda, Coordinator of the Skills Development Fund at the TEA.

He detailed, the SDF acts as an instrument to promote the expansion and quality of skills development opportunities in six core and enabling economic sectors in the country “The fund promotes an effective results-based tool to improve the relevance , quality, equity and efficiency in secondary education and training,” said Nyirenda.

According to him, the sectors in question include agriculture and agribusiness, tourism and hospitality, energy, construction, transport and logistics and information, communication and technology.

With a fund share of at least 15 billion/- (out of the World Bank’s $120 million fund), Nyirenda disclosed that TEA aims to train a total of 40,000 young people, saying that so far, the program had already benefited 34,000 young people from different 23 regions of the continent as well as 600 from Pemba and Unguja.

In implementing the SDF program, he said that TEA is partnering with some institutes including Vocational Training Authority (VETA), Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) and Institute of Technology of Dar es Salaam (DIT), Arusha Technical College as well as other local universities and some non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“Through our partner, we usually empower colleges in terms of key training facilities and infrastructure, but in addition, we help them update their training curriculum to ensure recipients are more professionally trained. “, he added.

Additionally, he disclosed that the registered beneficiaries were selected based on various criteria, saying, “Firstly, we always give first priority to applicants with disabilities, but secondly applicants from poor households where other applicants from different levels of education are mainly going through a special check before being enlisted,”

With age targets between 15 and 35, Nyirenda said the timely initiative, SDF, has so far played a significant role in helping most young beneficiaries (between 70 and 80 per cent) get employed. in various economic sectors through innovations, inventions as well as added value towards different agricultural products.

“As a pilot project, the SDF program equips beneficiaries with much-needed theoretical and practical skills, thus placing them in a better position to participate effectively in the inclusive economy,” he insisted.

And he added that the five-year program (2017/18-2022) of the SDF, which is due to be scrapped in December this year, will leave remarkable footprints among hundreds of young people in the country, but expressed optimism about the possibilities of extension of the program. useful program.

Testifying to The Guardian, Lamnyaki Lekoole, a young Maasai who benefited from the SDF scheme, said the life-saving initiative has played a significant role in transforming his livelihoods.

“Through the SDF program, I managed to take a cultural tourism course for at least three months at Mto wa Mbu Folk Development College in Arusha region. Through the course, I learned vital practical skills that enabled me to become a professional tourist guide, and most importantly, I learned a lot about the best way to produce natural ornaments,” he said.

Lekoole, who apart from guiding tourists, currently makes a lucrative profit from the sale of Maasai-made ornaments, said his life has been transformed into a light of prosperity, thanks to the SDF program.

“Through the business, I even managed to get myself a motorbike and now I am better able to pay my children’s school fees and manage other basic amenities,” he said.

Lisa Mkuyu, a graduate of the College of Business Education (CBE) in Dodoma, is another young person who had a prestigious opportunity to be enrolled and benefit from the SDF program.

Thanks to the program, she took courses in food processing at SIDO, studies that turned her into the best wine processor.

“I was born and raised in a family of entrepreneurs, so my passion has always been to start my own business after finishing my studies, even though I didn’t know where to start,” she said. .

After graduating and fortunately being lucky enough to be enrolled in TEA’s SDF program, she managed to embark on a wine processing project, an initiative that has so far yielded good results.

Currently, she owns Roslyn Enterprises, the booming wine processing company that produces favorable brands including Ugogoni and Rosyline wines.

“I call on other young people in the country to seek out and effectively use different skills development opportunities that continue to arise in the country to grasp the key knowledge in entrepreneurship to help them venture into self-sufficient ventures. “, she urged.

The overall vision of the SDF is to minimize the skills gap by rapidly increasing the supply of graduates with skills relevant to the job market. To achieve this, the SDF aims to increase the number of people with relevant skills in key occupations and sectors, as stipulated in the NSDS.

NSDS is a pioneer in creating a skilled and competitive Tanzanian workforce that can effectively drive inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth by developing a sustainable transformation of the Tanzanian workforce to achieve a composition that ensures timely attainment of middle-income country status by 2025.

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