This blog comes to us from our partner Indego Africa, a nonprofit that empowers artisan women and youth in Rwanda and Ghana.
As technology spreads across the globe, it brings with it possibilities of innovation, economic growth, inclusion, and better quality of life.
Yet, in Rwanda, and across the developing world, many people lack the technological skills needed to participate in this increasingly digitized economy. Indego Africa’s new Technology Training for the Workplace (TTW) program in Rwanda was created to help close that gap.
Launched in June 2016, Indego Africa’s TTW workshop provides young college graduates in Rwanda with technology training, job application guidance, and business soft skills, such as time management and office communication, to help them enter and succeed in the workforce.
While most of our education programs focus on training artisan women, we were inspired to start our Technology Training for the Workplace workshop as part of our growing mission to address the livelihood challenges facing youth in Rwanda today (see here for more on our Vocational Training program). TTW focuses specifically on college graduates, unlike our other programs, because most job candidates need an advanced degree in order to be considered for office positions in Rwanda.
However, research by the OECD and The MasterCard Foundation Youth Think Tank shows that there is a pervasive “skills mismatch” between what young people learn in secondary schools and universities and the skills they need to participate in an increasingly digitized workforce. Many Rwandans remain stuck in low-paying jobs due to limited skills.
As one TTW student, Doriane, said: “Nowadays, Rwandan youth are facing several challenges in finding jobs, but the biggest one is lack of experience. Most jobs available require skills and experience that we don’t have.”
Indego’s TTW Workshop provides young people with training in foundational computer skills and relevant software programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It also includes job application guidance, such as resume-writing, cover letters and interviews.
Further, the program emphasizes training in business soft skills, which are critically important but often not taught. Lessons in time management, public speaking, project prioritizing, and office communication etiquette, among others, help to provide young people with a holistic introduction to the kinds of skills they will need in the workplace.
Out of 50 spots available in the first round of the workshop, more than 400 young people applied—a statistic which highlights the incredible need for these kinds of programs in Rwanda, where many college graduates remain persistently unemployed.
We are happy to report, however, that by the end of our first Technology Training for the Workplace workshop, almost one-fourth of the class had secured a job! Many students cited the resume and interview skills lessons as crucial in helping them navigate and excel in the job application process.
Moving forward, we’ll be staying in touch with our TTW graduates to find out how this program has impacted their experiences both in the job search and in the workplace. We’re excited to see these aspiring entrepreneurs, accountants, NGO leaders, and social change-makers put their knowledge into action—paving the way for generations to come.