« 100 Years – 100 Lives » | TANZANIA - “Apprenticeship brought me a whole new life and now I can support my family”

An ILO-supported apprenticeship programme provided the necessary skills and training to a young unemployed single mother. She now works in a 5-star safari resort.

Reportage | Tanzania | 7 juin 2019
ARUSHA - Before enrolling into the ILO Skill-Up Tanzania Apprenticeship Programme aimed at upgrading skills for the changing world of work, 29-year-old Joyce Rutazinda was among the many unskilled youths from Tanzania who are out of school. But after being involved for two years in the programme, she now has the technical, practical and soft/employability skills to grab more opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Rutazinda is a native of Kagera, a region bordering Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. Her parents, like 90% of local residents, are low-income smallholder farmers.

Although she was lucky enough to complete high school, the road to graduation was challenging. Joyce became pregnant and took a year-long break from school to give birth to her son who is now 9 years old. Like many of her peers from lower income households, Joyce was three times more likely to become a teenage mother.

She graduated but did not perform well enough for higher education. Her family could not pay for her to go on studying. The new single mother made ends meet through various odd jobs in the mining town of Geita, sending most of her salary back home for her son.

“A good opportunity”

“I was 26 when my aunt called me to tell me about the new apprenticeship programme and urged me to apply. It sounded like a good opportunity so I immediately filled in the application forms. I was so relieved when I was called for the interview in Arusha,” she said.

Rutazinda travelled to Arusha in 2015 for the apprenticeship programme interview. It was her first interview experience. She recalls being intimidated by the intensive process.

She was happily surprised when she received an acceptance letter a few weeks after. 80 per cent of the training costs was covered by the ILO but she admits that raising the remaining amount was challenging. However, Joyce persevered in order to acquire new skills:

“I was taught how to perform different duties in an hotel; from front desk to the store room. I then decided to specialize in housekeeping for my fieldwork training,” she added.

Rutazinda - along with 56 of her Arusha apprenticeship peers – was trained in housekeeping, reception as well as food and beverages service at the National College of Tourism (NCT). The programme’s tailor made module emphasises on both theoretical and practical learning with the first year focusing on all departments and the second for specialization.

She spent a total of 6 months at the College and 18 months training at Serena Hotel in Serengeti National Park. She is now one of 185 Apprenticeship graduates from the programme to receive the first quality apprenticeship certification approved by the National Council for Technical Education (NACTE) in Tanzania.

After graduating, Rutazinda was given a temporary contract at Serena Hotel while waiting for a permanent arrangement.

Financially independent

She has now become a permanent hotel employee and has upgraded to the food and beverage section. She wants to go even further and train as a front desk manager at the hotel.

She is confident that she can take on even more duties because of the multiple skills she gained through her apprenticeship courses.

She also confirms that her life has taken a better turn since joining the ILO- supported programme:

“ILO has opened my future. I can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing I can afford to support myself and my family. My income has increased and I love what I do. I work at a great 5-start safari resort and I’m surrounded by nature and wildlife,” she concluded.

But Joyce also has dreams of becoming self-employed. She would like to open a Kitenge (Traditional African fabric) boutique within the next five years. She has joined the hotel’s staff savings and lending group which she plans on using to finance her business.

Arusha is one of the three target areas for the programme together with Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.

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