Uganda: Vocational Training and Tailoring Shop Program
79 Students Face the DIT Exams with Confidence: Q1 2018
July 18, 2018
Alphonse Mwanamwolho and Naku Charles Lwanga
Summary of Activities
We continue to provide financial support and guidance for the four departments at RMF’s Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI). During this reporting period, the following accomplishments were achieved:
- The PVTI team conducted interviews to select candidates for the 14th intake, January–March 2018. 381 applicants expressed interest in joining the vocational training program. After the interview process and considering the institute’s financial capacity, 88 trainees were accepted.
- Of the 88 trainees accepted for the intake, 80 continued with their training and were registered for the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) examinations, which took place on April 25, 2018. Unfortunately, one Tailoring and Garment Cutting trainee died on the day of the examination. His name was John Taban Basilio, a male South Sudanese trainee who had been in poor health for some time.
- All four departments were provided with adequate training and examination materials during the reporting period, which helped PVTI to conduct training without interruption. Trainees were also provided with safety tools and uniforms.
- Due to the funding from RMF/WCF, the program is able to attract additional partners. During the previous reporting period, Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) received supplementary materials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). These materials supported training activities and the school office.
- Training sessions were effectively conducted and stayed on schedule.
- Instructors’ salaries were paid in a timely manner, which enables PVTI to maintain a highly motivated team.
- The cleanliness of the school’s premises was maintained by ensuring that the compound was mown and the training workshop and office kept clean.
- In order to promote the concept of democracy, trainees are encouraged to elect guild representatives. The activity makes the training lively, as different candidates try to win the electorate. This exercise took place on February 2, 2018, and the trainees are empowered to decide on the positions they consider vital to the institution.
- Follow-up visits were conducted for former trainees. In this way, the vocational training team was able to provide them with technical support on how to improve their businesses.
750+ have Graduated
Since RMF took on the management of PVTI in 2011, over 750 trainees have graduated and are actively employed, either running their own businesses or working for someone else.
Most of our graduates are refugees, and they are taking advantage of the Ugandan government’s “free employment policy,” which allows refugees to secure employment and move to other locations where their services are needed. Many PVTI graduates testify that this training has changed their lives from being dependent to being independent.
A Promising Future
A total of 80 students continued with their studies at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI), completing their training in one of the school’s four departments: Bricklaying and Concrete Practice, Carpentry and Joinery, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, or Tailoring and Garment Cutting. 79 of these students took the DIT exams on April 25, 2018, earning certificates that will facilitate further studies and/or employment at reputable businesses.
Training materials for the semester were purchased in the required quantities and in the required timeline. Scholastic materials such as books and pens were also distributed.
Bricklaying and Concrete Practice
During the reporting period, 17 trainees continued their training in Bricklaying and Concrete Practice (BCP), including 1 female trainee. All trainees were registered for the DIT examinations.
The syllabus has been followed, and trainees are now conversant with key building skills. They are knowledgeable about the common bonds that are used in construction, e.g. the English bond, stretcher bond, and Flemish bond. Training is both practical and theoretical to ensure that graduates understand and apply standard building practices in their work.
Carpentry and Joinery
During the reporting period, 13 trainees continued with their training in Carpentry and Joinery (CJ). All trainees were registered for the DIT examinations.
The training continued according to the syllabus, and the trainees are now conversant with key joints used in carpentry and joinery. Trainees have started producing items such as chairs, beds, and tables.
Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
During the reporting period, 26 trainees were admitted for training in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy (HBT), including 1 male trainee. All trainees have continued in the program and were registered for DIT exams.
The class steadily followed the syllabus so that trainees can face the DIT exams with confidence. Trainees have learned the art of hair treatment, shaving, and plaiting different fashions.
Tailoring and Garment Cutting
During the reporting period, 24 trainees continued their training in Tailoring and Garment Cutting (TGC), including 2 male trainees. All trainees were registered for the DIT exams.
Training has followed the syllabus, and trainees’ skills have progressed. They are now able to make a pair of shorts, a shirt, and a skirt.
In April 2011, RMF initiated the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement after being presented by the refugee community with issues surrounding the lack of skills and vocational training for students graduating from the settlement high school.
After researching which skills would provide the quickest earning opportunities and the most efficient economic investment requirements for RMF, we narrowed the programs down to:
- Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
- Bricklaying and Concrete Practice
- Carpentry and Joinery
- Tailoring and Garment Cutting
- To train the refugees with relevant vocational training skills
- To prepare the refugees for the work world with entrepreneurial skills for both employment and self-employment
- To prepare refugees with basic skills that they shall use for nation building when returning to their home country
- To foster a cycle of improved economic stability and opportunity in the region
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Developing a Clothing Business
Pauline Aber studied tailoring and garment cutting at PVTI. With her startup kit, she works in Bweyale market. According to Pauline, this has enabled her to earn an income, and she has continuously worked hard, which has provided her with more skills and also helped her to stay in touch with the skills she acquired during the training.
While at the market, the community or her clients approach Pauline with clothing orders, and this has enabled her to contribute towards the basic needs of her family, including her children, mother, sisters, and brothers. Pauline is now focused on raising money to rent a shop, buy materials, and produce outfits for her clients.
Earning an Income
Vivian Adokorach graduated in 2016 from PVTI’s Tailoring and Garment Cutting Department. Equipped with her startup kit, Vivian works at Bweyale market, making designed and kitenge clothing, bed sheets, pillowcases, and other products.
The money she earns assists her in buying food and other essential supplies at home, as well as more material. Vivian said that the only problem she has is capital to buy material that will attract more clients.
Planning to Open Her Own Shop
Scovia Achola graduated from PVTI in December 2017. She did not receive a startup kit, but she rents a sewing machine at UGX 10,000 per week. She loves her work, and she said that during market days she earns more than UGX 20,000, which helps support her family, paying school fees for her siblings and looking after her sickly mother.
Scovia is optimistic that from the savings she will accumulate this year, she will be able to expand her business, therefore being able to open her own shop.
Expanding her Business
Dorcus Angee graduated in August 2015 from PVTI’s Tailoring and Garment Cutting Department. Equipped with her startup kit, Dorcus rented a veranda in front of a shop, where she does her tailoring work and also sells clothes and bags to make ends meet. She is optimistic that by the start of next year, she will have saved enough money to shift to a better location and expand her business.
Dorcus also describes the difficulties of her situation: she spends part of her earnings on repairs for her sewing machine, the site of her business is not very comfortable, and dust disturbs her business. Despite these difficulties, she is thankful for the opportunity and to RMF and Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute for the skills acquired.
Saving Money for more Material
Gloria Amonyi graduated in 2016 from PVTI’s Tailoring and Garment Cutting Department. She works at Bweyale market, where her clients find her. This has enabled Gloria to maintain the tailoring knowledge that she gained from the training and to earn an income to meet her basic needs.
She shared that she is able to save about UGX 5,000 per month with a nearby savings group. If she accumulates enough money, she would love to buy more material, rent a shop, and also begin trading materials. Most of the time her clients bring her mending work, and she has also made a few personal, designed dresses.