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The evolution of the normative framework on professional internships in the DRC: A lever for better professional integration of young people

 

During the DRC Mining Week 2024, a major event bringing together key players in the mining industry and its related sectors, Enabel organised a technical workshop on the normative framework for professional internships in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A panel of experts from the private and public sector, as well as more than 90 participants, discussed the evolution of this framework to improve the employability of young people.

 

Meeting the skill needs of businesses in the DRC

In the DRC, key sectors linked to the mining industry, such as transport and logistics, digital services, hospitality, construction, and public works, require a skilled workforce. These sectors have the potential to create jobs, add local value, and diversify the country’s economy.

This workshop emphasised the importance of developing training programmes tailored to business needs, inspired by projects piloted by VET Toolbox, to realise this potential.

Roxane de Bilderling, Ambassador of Belgium to the DRC, stated, “We must focus this training on the needs of businesses. Too often, diplomas are awarded that do not lead to employment. We must align the skills we teach young people with market demands.”

Challenges of professional internships in the DRC

Professional internships are crucial for graduates to apply their theoretical knowledge and develop practical skills tailored to company needs. Mireille Kalume, Director of Human Resources at the Forrest Group, remarked, “A professional internship creates tailor-made profiles for companies.”

However, Jean-Luc Mpoyo, Provincial Director of the Congo Business Federation (Haut-Katanga), pointed out, “Despite the goodwill of some companies, the professional internship system in the DRC is lacking.” The regulatory framework for internships is underdeveloped, creating obstacles for businesses and limiting quality internship opportunities for graduates. This hampers skill transmission within companies and hinders the professional integration of young people.

Towards effective internship regulation

Discussions at the workshop highlighted the need for stronger collaboration between the employment and training sectors to promote and regulate internships effectively. This cooperation would enhance professional integration for young people, develop local value chains, and support sustainable economic development.

Key solutions identified during the workshop include:

  • Establishing a stronger regulatory framework to oversee internships.
  • Improving the quality of training and internships to align with labour market needs.
  • Strengthening tripartite dialogue between the Congo Business Federation (FEC), the Ministry of Labour, and the Technical Education and Vocational Training (ETFP) ecosystem.

Lorenzo Giacomin, Portfolio Manager for Enabel in the DRC, underscored the importance of public-private dialogue, stating, “With European investments and the growth of the mining sector, professional internships are a significant opportunity. We must come together and address this issue collectively.”

Fanon Beya, Director General of ONEM (National Employment Office), announced the forthcoming implementation of a quota system for professional internships within companies, marking a significant step forward for internships in the DRC.

Workshop panellists

Moderator:

  • Bonheur Ntambwe, Training-Employment Expert, Enabel

Speakers:

  • Roxane de Bilderling, Ambassador of Belgium to the DRC
  • Jean-Luc Mpoyo, FEC Haut-Katanga Provincial Director
  • Mireille Kalume, Director of Human Resources, Forrest Group
  • Jean-Claude Kanyiki, Training Director, Congo Equipment CAT
  • Léonie Muyombe, Director, Haut-Katanga Resource Centre
  • Lorenzo Giacomin, Portfolio Manager, Enabel