Uganda has possibly the youngest population in the world, the biggest percentage under 30 years of age. The unemployment rate for young people ages 15–24 ranges between 64% and 83%, or even higher for those who have formal university degrees and live in urban areas; a potentially explosive situation.
The Patsy Helm Memorial Vocational Training Center has existed since 2008 in Jinja, Uganda, to train skills in carpentry, metal fabrication and welding, bricklaying and concrete practice, tailoring, catering, bakery, hairdressing, soap making, knitting, weaving, waste recycling as well as urban agriculture and animal husbandry skills. Learners are also trained in small business management, customer relations, problem solving and life skills which enable the trainees to find employment or create own jobs for self reliance. Sometimes, the center helps them to get suitable work.
In recent months, however, it has been decided to reconfigure the training center into a social business academy promoting social entrepreneurship, sustainability and social innovation over traditional vocational training in order to bring out a new breed of more socially oriented entrepreneurs. The plan is to recruit scholars and start training by October 2018. Training programs will run for 3 months to 2 years. For program sustainability and domesticating the model into the local culture, more effort (around 60%) will be directed at training in social entrepreneurship, life-coaching, reshaping attitudes using design thinking, self-management, mentoring, and the rest to the actual trade skills.