Mutambi said it was discovered that when students go for internships in certain companies, they are not allowed to “touch anything”
Companies offering internships to students have been advised to concentrate on hands-on training.
The call was made by Dr Joshua Mutambi, the commissioner for processing and marketing at the trade ministry, during the launch of the training activities for Agro-processing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) held at Makerere University recently.
Mutambi said it was discovered that when students go for internships in certain companies, they are not allowed to “touch anything”, with claims that they do not have the experience to operate such machines.
“If you deny them the chance to use your machine, your computer or work on customers, then how will they get the experience? These are the same students you are going to ask to apply for your jobs and ask for their experience,” Mutambi said.
He advised universities to make follow-ups to find out if students are getting practical skills from the internship placements.
“It is useless for an institution to send out students to train in organisations to gain experience and skills yet they are not trusted. Gaining skills means using your eyes, touching among others,” Mutambi said.
Denis Otim, a student at Makerere University School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, revealed that during his internship in one of the beverage companies in Kampala, he was always denied the opportunity to touch or even come close to the machines.
According to Otim, the supervisors always claimed that everything required experienced people, not students.
“I completed my internship without getting any practical lesson. I still wonder what internship is for,” he says.
Dr Julia Kigozi, the Principal Investigator, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, revealed that to close these gaps, Makerere University had received sh220m to train and skill practitioners in 40 Agro-processing micro, small and medium enterprises.
The trainees are to receive skills that will enable them to produce quality products that meet standards for certification as well as the ability to meet the capacity required for local and export markets.
Kigozi said the funds came from the government through Makerere University Research and Innovation Fund (RIF) and will be facilitated by the School of food technology, Nutrition and Bio-engineering in partnership with Uganda Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and Uganda Export Promotions Board.
Besides the agro-processors, Kigozi said 40 Makerere University students will also get a chance to take part in the training.