Uganda: Work Opportunity Programme

Kolping Uganda’s training programme in Kampala offers an opportunity for young people who have dropped out of school. The “Work Opportunity Programme” (WOP) is specifically aimed at young people between 18 and 30 years of age who live on the margins of society and struggle along with casual jobs. The goal is to enable them to gain access to the job market.

For 19-year-old Muhammad Sseguya, life changed for the better thanks to the WOP programme: He comes from a poor family and had to drop out of primary school after third grade. He helped his parents to supplement the family income by collecting scrap metal or peddling. He had given up his dreams of a different life and a good future. When he learned about Kolping’s Work-Opportunity-Programme (WOP), he seized his opportunity: he learned the welding trade and is now working in metal processing.

Even without a school-leaving certificate, young people can learn a trade at the Kolping vocational training centre in Kampala in courses lasting several months. In addition, the youths also learn so-called “soft skills” that help them in their professional lives: Kolping helps them to be prepared for a job interview, teaches them how to talk to customers and to prepare calculations, because many former trainees start their own small businesses after some time.

Muhammad Sseguya is highly motivated and proud of his trade – and his parents are also very proud of their son who has received a good vocational training. He is a role model for his younger siblings as they try to overcome poverty: Following his training, Muhammad found a permanent job with a company and now earns his own money. “I am very happy and want to learn more,” says the young man.  Eventually, he would like to open his own workshop and train young people. For they, too, should be given a chance, just as he was given a chance by Kolping that gave his life a new direction.

Last year Kolping trained 20 young people in welding in Kampala. Thanks to their professional skills, it will not take them long to find a permanent employment or to set up their own small business. Here again, they are supported by Kolping. They receive a “starter kit” with the most important tools, making it easier for them to start their careers.