In the framework of our current process to strengthen the support for our students at Potentiam Youth Development Centre after graduation, we organized the first ever Career Day at Fontes Foundation. The main objective was to bridge the existing gap between Kampala’s youth and thriving employers. We sought to increase our students’ professional opportunities by giving them insights into different career paths, allowing some to present their business plans in front of an audience of entrepreneurs, and most importantly provide a platform for them to network with different employers, mentors and former PYC students.
One day prior to the event, we held a capacity building on networking at our Youth Centre for students who had signed up for the Career Day. The session focused on three main aspects of networking, namely preparation, connecting and follow-ups. Regarding the first point, we emphasized the importance of sound preparation for such an event. We introduced the different company profiles and talked about possible career chances in the given sectors. Furthermore, we had the students compile a diagram of their strengths and weaknesses, and interests. The aim of this exercise was to nudge the students’ reflection upon their merits and interests, and how they could best combine them to bring value to a company and build their careers. To learn how to best connect with a possible employer during the Career Day, we primarily discussed verbal and non-verbal communication. The students then came up with elevator pitches and presented them in small role plays in front of the crowd to practice networking with the Human Resource Managers. At last, we only briefly outlined how to follow up with leads.
The Career Day was on Friday, 2nd of June. We were happy to count more than a hundred participants. Next to the representatives of sixteen employers from various sectors, many of our current and former students, our Football- and Drama team, as well as students from other youth groups of Kampala joined. Being well prepared for the event, the youth eagerly engaged in conversations with the employers.
Next to the employer fair, a core element of the career day consisted in a workshop session. Robert Asiimwe from People Performance Group started with an introductory speech on CV writing and how to present oneself in a job interview. Peter Kisadha from Jumia Jobs then took over and elaborated on online job portals and how to advert and look for job opportunities online. The last part of the workshops was by the team of DFCU bank. In relation to our entrepreneurial programme, they focused their speech on micro savings and financial management.
After a second round of networking, the event ended with the presentations of our business plan competition winners. Joanita and Barbara explained how they had successfully launched a small groundnut selling business. Starting with very restricted funds of 9’700 UGX (2.7 USD), they managed to earn 54’000 UGX (15 USD) in their first month. Thereafter, Moses introduced his business plan for a mobile quality fruit business, as he calls it. We are happy to look back on a successful event with plenty of new friends of Fontes Foundation.