13 February 2018

Rwanda: Brand Ambassadors Fighting Unemployment Through Skills Devt

The lack of market-relevant skills is one the complaints from recruiters, and the challenge has seen many a graduate searching for jobs from office to office, sector to sector to no avail.

Lack of skills has also seen many start-ups fail to make it to their fifth birthday as new business owners do not have the requisite management and other capabilities to run an enterprise. This problem could, however, soon be history as more initiatives aimed at sharpening the skills of new graduates and youth in general open shop in the country.

Brand Ambassadors Network is one such venture, seeking to equip youth and students with entrepreneurial and networking skills to be able to start and run their own enterprises profitably.

Frank Rubaduka, the brains behind the project, says they target students from all levels of education and young graduates whom they train in diverse skills, including marketing and sales, personal branding, social media skills, professional and corporate communication skills, business management, team building, public speaking, and telephone and email etiquettes, among others.

"The training will help bridge the skills gap among youth and graduates. Many graduates fail to get jobs because they lack job experience or necessary skills. So, we came in to address this challenge, a move we hope will also support the country's development efforts through job-creation," he says.

He adds that many youth take to drug abuse due redundancy and in desperation, saying that such cases could reduce as more young people get internship and volunteer opportunities with different organisations the group is going to partner with.

"Besides business mentorship, we will recommend trainees for job opportunities in different organisations!we will also continue monitoring their performance to ensure they fully fit well in their roles," Rubaduka says.

The organisation also introduces interns and volunteers to the job market by connecting them with various companies.

KESC commends initiative

Kigali Employment Service Centre (KESC) manager Aloys Niyonsaba applauded the organization for coming up with such an initiative, saying it complements their work.

KESC connects job-seekers with employers. It also trains them on how to write CVs and cover letters, gives career guidance, helps university and other students with internship placement, as well as provides entrepreneurship training.

He says KESC wants companies, NGOs and other stakeholders to work together in skilling Rwandan youth and making them more employable to help reduce the unemployment rate.

Niyonsaba suggested that Brand Ambassadors Network should partner with KESC for the two organisations to produce better results.

He says the centre helped 128 youth get jobs in 2015, while 130 more young people were employed through the KESC and 297 last year. Therefore, it's our belief that many more youth could be connected with employers if we work together as a team, he adds.

Beneficiaries speak out

Jesse Shyaka, an International Relations student at Kigali Independent University and an intern at Brand Ambassadors, hopes to gain entrepreneurship skills as he prepares to start his own enterprise. He says the internship has exposed him to new opportunities and sharpened his communication skills, which he believes will come in handy when he eventually starts his own business. Shyaka says that the organisation promotes and challenges them to innovate, which will help improve their capabilities.

For Jean Eric Niyitanga, a medical student at University of Rwanda medical school, this initiative equips young people from different professions with business expertise.

"I will use the chance optimally by learning how to develop and design business projects. As medical students, we don't get an opportunity to learn basics or running a business at university... My target is to become an innovative and entrepreneurial person with mastery in both medicine and business management to serve my country to the best of my ability," Niyitanga said.

His wish is to use the training to start up his own private clinic after medical school "to employ other Rwandans."

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