In September 2012 Musa Body Foundation, a vocational training charity based in Kampala, Uganda, introduced employability training at Makerere University through two one-day Employ Me workshops facilitated by Worktree. All 48 students reported that they had ‘enjoyed the day’ and 46 said that they had ‘learned a lot’ about the process of gaining employment.
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“It was wonderful,” wrote student Babra Atuhereza in her questionnaire after the workshop. “I learned how to work well in a team, how to write a good job application and how to present myself for an interview.” Another student, Immaculate Merebaze, wrote: “I learned the importance of self-management.”
“The training method was excellent,” said Professor Tom Otiti of Makerere University. “Students finished the workshop with a much better idea of the STEPS required to develop the right skills for our economy, and that’s thanks largely to the unusually interactive way the course was taught.”
In September 2013, Worktree returned to Uganda to support Musa Body Foundation in delivering nine employability skills training workshops for more than 150 students in five Ugandan universities: Mmbarara University School of Science and Technology, Royal University in Kampala, The Management Training & Advisory Centre, United Christian University and the Leadership Training Centre in Nsambya.
“What I like about the Employ Me workshop,” said Dominic Kyambadde, Operations Manager of Musa Body Foundation, “is the way the students get to feel what it’s like to be an employer, especially in the short-listing of job applications. We have not used this kind of role play before, where the students act as if they are the employers. But there is a lot of moving of chairs and tables for the role play, so it would have been easier if our chairs and tables weren’t so heavy.”
“I enjoyed the way we were expressing ourselves in our interviews,” said Igga Fyed Fahd, a student from Kampala’s Royal University. “I needed to learn how to apply for a job and how to interact with others. This should be encouraged in all Ugandan schools.”
Florida Nantambi, a Ministry of Education official visiting from Rwanda, said: “The method of training was highly interactive and I hope the same model of employability training can be delivered in our country.”
Most significant was the longer-term impact on students, shown by the results of a follow-up survey with 120 students three months after the September 2013 workshops: of 59 students who had looked for employment, 55 (93%) had secured paid employment (6 self-employed); of all 120 respondents, 114 (95%) rated the Engage Me and Employ Me workshops ‘very helpful’; all but one said they would recommend the workshops to other students.
Professor James Arinda, Director of the Worldwide Business Bureau at Makerere University, said: “Given the little time spent on the training (one day), it improved many students’ lives. Some have got jobs and others have gone out to start their own businesses. If this programme is given more time and support so it can grow, it will help many more lives.”