The Minister of ICT and National Guidance; Hon. Frank Tumwebaze on Wednesday launched the ‘Refactory’ program at Clarke International University.
The program, which is a partnership between university, Laboremus and Fontes Foundation, seeks to advance the skills of the tech industry in Uganda. The program is fully funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation for a 4 years — a deal the partners secured last year.
The launch of the program simultaneously saw the first cohort graduating after fully taking a 3 months catalyst course.
“I am thrilled by the launch of the Refactory program. But most importantly seeing the first cohort complete the catalyst program,” said Dr. Rose Clarke Nanyonga, VC at Clarke International University.
The graduates are now enrolled for a six-month bootcamp where they’ll be working on solving real problems. A select graduates after the bootcamp will be selected to work at an ICT firm for a period of one year — helping them to get familiar with the environment.
With no doubt companies today are struggling to hire developers in Uganda who have the competence the industry demands. With this, they end up outsourcing developers. Ten thousand’s of university students graduate each year and majority of them have no skill a developer requires. Thus, the Refactory Program is created to bridge this gap.
“There’s no doubt that ICT is the future and ICT skills are high demand in Uganda. At the same time graduates are frustrated because they can’t find jobs without practical experience or relevant technical skills,” Ms. Lucrezia Biteete, Chairperson of the Board, Fontes Foundation Uganda said during the launch.
The Refactory program teaches students both technical and non-technical skills required to meet the demands when hiring a developer.
The Minister applauded the team behind the program, led by Mr. Micheal Niyitegeka. He said the establishment of this program comes at the time when the government is investing in the ICT sector.
“I see significant synergies with the National Innovation Support Program (NISP) and I look forward to closer partnership as we grow this program,” said Tumwebaze.
The Minister also called upon the media to pick interest in understanding the potentials of young developers and their innovations. To tell their stories and become digital ambassadors and creating market for young innovators.
Tumwebaze also pointed out that today students should learn to get skilled and use the skill to earn. Emphasizing the need for an education system that focuses on producing students that are ready to create solutions that will help communities.
Timothy Musoke, CTO of Laboremus Uganda said one of the key assumptions the company was built on was that there would be thousands of young talents software developers coming out of universities — which by then would give them a place to use their skills.
However, unfortunately it wasn’t the case the students weren’t nurtured well in shaping their skills. Hence, creating a partnership with Clarke International University and Fontes to train developers.
“Through this partnership, we take the lessons we have learnt to train developers and scale it up as well,” said Timothy.