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Formal education alone doesn't empower youth for the job market

I remember when interviewing for a Communications Officer a young lady walked in with confidence, well dressed, and a great posture. Looking at my notes, I was very optimistic that she was "the one" for the job; she had a degree in Business Administration and a Masters Degree in Communication Studies from Malaysia. All went well with technical questions till I asked her about her Dreams, Vision, Goals for her career and personal life...At 28 years and 4 years work experience, she had no clue what goals were and she openly admitted that she always though Visions were for organizations not people. Bottom line for me the key question during interviews is "tell us about yourself"...that is where everything goes right or wrong.

Photo of Rehmah Kasule
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In Uganda, people are highly qualified with first degrees, masters degrees and even PHDs, however, the level of skills is very low. They don't have the skills necessary for the 21st century to enable them become competitive and relevant in the job market. 
The other common challenge that youth face is the use of slangs in their speech, with the great age of sms texting, youth translate that into their communication, both written and spoken. I have also seen a candidate despite holding a smart phone, she had no clue of how to use the computer during an Aptitude Test. 
And due to our culture that tells women not to look people straight in the face, it becomes very painful to talk to candidates that don't look at the people interviewing them. 
Alot of people do not know who they are, and have little information about global issues. When asked the question "tell us about yourself" they will talk about their name, and the degrees they have and nothing about skills, passions, values and visions.
The one challenge that youth are facing is that they don't believe in themselves. Even if there is an opportunity presented for a job, they discourage themselves from applying with excuses like "I am not good enough, I am not qualified for that position, I don't have the right experience, the interview is a waste of time because they have already got someone for the job." This greatly erodes their confidence and self belief. Even when they go for the job interview, they already have negative thoughts.


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Photo of Meena Kadri

Interesting insights, Rehmah. There certainly seem to be opportunities to empower potential employees with these soft skills and we're glad that you've highlighted the need here on your post. Do you know of any local programs that are offering training around interviewing skills, job application writing, etc to help out on these issues that we could learn from ahead of our Ideas phase?

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