Africa Career’s Network (ACN) in partnership with Mastercard Foundation will host the first-ever Professional Development “Baraza” for students and graduates on the African continent, in Nairobi, Kenya in July. Themed Education for Employability: Owning Your Career, this conference aims to empower University students and graduates to learn from career management best practices as well as to create a platform for mutual learning and collaboration between emerging talent, educational institutions and employing organisations.
15 to 20 million increasingly well-educated young people are expected to join the African workforce every year for the next three decades (World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa, 2017). It will be imperative to develop a strong ecosystem for quality jobs and the skills to match the jobs of the future. Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s youngest region, with 60% of its population under the age of 25. Organisational talent strategies need to take advantage of the availability and potential of this demographic if they are to optimally utilise the labour market.
“Tertiary institutions should be doing more to equip graduates to transition into the world of work, particularly where soft skills are concerned. The progression from tertiary education into the world of work should not be seen as an “automatic process.” Rather, it is a transition that needs to be deliberately and purposefully managed. Graduates are often faced with trying to figure out how to fit into the work environment according to the employer’s expectations and employers are expecting graduates who are well skilled to seamlessly adapt into their environments. The gap between expectation and reality from both parties can lead to frustration from both parties during this transition process” says Phiona Martin, ACN Southern Africa Manager.
With about 90 attendees from 18 African countries, ACN’s Professional Development Baraza is focused on enhancing the employability of university graduates as they prepare to enter the world of work. At this conference, attendees can expect:
- To gain skills they can utilise to present themselves to potential employers on a competitive basis, particularly through professional documents such as CV’s, Cover Letters and emails;
- To be equipped with networking skills and confidence to interface with employers in their field of interest. Attendees will be given an opportunity to practice these skills with actual employers at a facilitated networking cocktail.
- To enable job-seekers to identify a greater range of career opportunities available to them by industry, function, or employer;
- To coach university students to be able to clearly articulate career goals and market themselves to potential employers;
- To practice interview skills through participating in mock interviews with industry experts;
- To develop quality job search strategies in order to find job opportunities, internships, and volunteerships; and
- To understand the basics of professional behaviour and etiquette in the world of work.
Ayado Ewinyu, Director of Africa Careers Network states: “Gone are the times when only one party needs to prepare for the world of work. The lack of readily available African talent is a challenge that all stakeholders (employers, students, and tertiary institutions, as well as government) need to solve together, in order to provide actual interventions and solutions to job-seeking youth. It is through multi-stakeholder partnerships that we can grow African economies, and simultaneously benefit individuals, organizations, communities and countries.”
ACN is a pan-African career and internships platform that connects young African talent from African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation Scholars program to meaningful career and internship opportunities across the African continent. Since 2012, ACN has placed over 1400 internships and jobs, the majority of which are on the African continent. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
View images from previous Barazas here.