Helping boost graduates’ skills

What you need to know:

Not all merry: After university, many graduates will think about finding a job while many employers always seek people with experience.   Those that have embraced the culture of taking on graduate trainees always win.

As a fresh graduate of a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Uganda Christian University, Mukono, in 2019, John Kenneth Kayongo never envisioned working with a big construction firm. But this was to change when he got placement as a graduate trainee at a construction firm, Mota-Engil’s SmartME in 2021.

“I got to learn about the programme through Uganda National Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (Unabcec) on LinkedIn. However, I was encouraged to apply after a former classmate notified me about the advert, calling fresh graduates to apply for the graduate trainee programme,” Kayongo said.

In April 2021, Kayongo was contacted by Mota-Engil and informed that he was among the candidates being considered to work as a trainee. At induction, we were informed that this was not just an internship placement but rather a way of making our names available to potential employers.

“I can say my confidence on the job has been boosted tremendously. And perhaps the most important thing is that I have been able to get more transferrable skills, which have greatly improved my technical skills,” Kayongo said.

Kayongo is among the many fresh graduates who have benefitted from the graduate trainee programme associations such as Unabcec put in place.

Speaking at the Association’s annual general meeting held in Kampala recently, the president, Jamesone Olonya, emphasised the need for employers to take on graduate trainees to grow their skills. “The first two intakes have so far benefitted more than 50 graduates…I continue to call upon all members to support the programme by taking on trainees,” he said.

The third intake this year has attracted more than 100 graduates, including both degree and diploma graduates of construction and engineering-related courses such as Building and Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Quantity Surveying/Building Economics, Water Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Automotive and Power Engineering, Electrical Engineering, & Land Surveying.