By Ntokozo Nkambule
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has revealed that more than two thousand graduates have applied for the Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme (EYEP).
The EYEP is a government-endorsed Programme which aims to support young graduates to secure a foot in the door, as most employers require some work experience. Through this Programme, young graduates from local and external tertiary institutions will get the opportunity to gain at least 12 months of work experience, thus improving their employability prospects.
The project targets youth from all regions with at least a Diploma from a recognized and accredited institution. The deadline for applications is the 31st of March 2023, which means there is still time for graduates to apply for the programme.
The UNDP revealed the figures during a media engagement held earlier this morning at the United Nations (UN) offices in Mbabane. Addressing the media, UNDP Resident Representative Rose Ssebatindira noted that since this is still a pilot project they were impressed by the number of graduates that have expressed interest in the programme by applying.
She, however, acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done to increase the number of applications. “We are cognizant of the fact that these figures may be low, but it is important to appreciate that this project is still in its pilot phase and we are also learning a lot and we are certain that the number of applications will go up with time.”
UNDP Governance Advocacy Associate Sakhile Shabangu who presented the numbers noted that a majority of the graduates who applied are from the Manzini region as they represent 41% of total applications. The Manzini region was followed by the Hhohho region which has a 34.6% representation. The Shiselweni region is third with 13.3% and finally, Lubombo has the least entries at 11%.
In terms of gender, a majority of graduate applicants were female.
“Female graduate applicants constitute about 58% of total applications received with Manzini leading with 24% followed by Hhohho at 21%. Male graduate applicants constitute about 42% of total applications received,” he noted.
Furthermore, Shabangu observed that when it comes to education level, the vast majority of graduate applications are from those that hold a Bachelor’s Degree.
“Bachelor’s Degree holders constitute about 51% of total applications (highest entries) whilst PhD holders constitute about 0.05%. Diploma holders were the second largest group accounting for 21% of total applications, with the third being Associate degree holders (18%).”
Regarding the profile of graduate disciplines who showed the most interest were the Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness Management (4%), and Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences also at 4%.
Breakdown of Graduate Disciplines
Shabangu concluded by revealing that persons with disabilities constitute 0.7% of total entries from graduates.