The Ministry of Agriculture says students joining technical and vocational schools are genius and will be part of efforts of fulfilling the country’s targets of acquiring a middle income economy status by 2035.
Minister of Agriculture and animal production Gerardine Mukeshimana, pointed out that students joining vocational schools will have ‘real business’ especially in Agro-processing and food production.
“You made a good decision. Vocational schools are joined by super geniuses, not poor performing students as people used to claim,” the Minister said.
Vocational skills are practical and it’s the way to go now. Food production has business all the time. Customers want different food recipes all the time, and you are able to offer them. We want to change the image of people, that agriculture is for the poor and the elderly. This will change.”
The observation was made during the graduation ceremony of 356 trainees in various vocational sectors. They graduated in milk processing, meat processing, animal feeds production, hay and silage production, production and marketing, vegetables production and processing, poultry farming, among others.
Other skills gained by graduates include; operation and maintenance of field irrigation, operation and maintenance of farm tractors and machinery, operation and maintenance of agri-processing machinery and refrigeration and cold chain management.
“They are ready to compete on the labour market since they have acquired skills, and some are self-employed. Some were trained from companies and this is an opportunity for employers to see their skills,” Andrew Gashayija, a team leader at Kilimo Trust Rwanda said.
Kilimo Trust Rwanda which conducted this training, is non-profit organization working on agriculture for development across the East Africa community.
“You have the needed skills, you can be trainers, go and work professionally,” Gashayija said adding that 3000 other people will be trained in similar fields by 2024.
The graduation ceremony was held at IPRCs Kigali on November 17. Graduates were trained in partnership with Integrated Polytechnic Regional Colleges (IPRCs), Rwanda Polytechnic, Rwanda TVET Board and Kilimo Trust Rwanda, through the Rural Youth Employment Support (RYES) project.
After three-four month long training, graduates were awarded certificates.
“We have acquired skills in various capacities. We are ready for work and we can also train other youth,” Jean De Dieu Niwomwugeri, a graduate said on behalf of the team.
Sylvie Mucyo, Vice Chancellor of Rwanda Polytechnic, said the curriculums that were used to train these youth encompass essential skills that enable trainees to have hands on skills within a short period of times and can be good entrepreneurs once they secure capital.
The graduates constitute the first cohort of the R-YES project. They were trained from IPRC Musanze, IPRC Gishari, IPRC Kigali, Kabutare TVET school, Kavumu TVET school, and College Fondation Sina Gerard. Others were trained from twenty (28) agribusiness companies.
Among the total graduates, 85 have acquired jobs in different agribusiness industries/companies while 52 others are self-employed.