BY MINNIE KARANJA
Job Net is an annual event organized by Kigali Employment Service Centre (KESC). Taking place every year during the employment week, it is a platform that has seen more than 100 youth gainfully employed. First launched in 2014, it has since grown stronger and bigger and every year more youth are connected to potential employers. This year Job Net will be held on April 27 at Petit Stade, in Remera.
Job Net is one of the significant tools that KESC is using to tackle the issue of unemployment among the youth in Rwanda. It works by connecting jobs seekers with potential employers. During Job Net, jobseekers – majority of which are the youth, have the opportunity to network and make important connections with potential employers. Unlike other job fairs or events that are focused on securing employment for jobseekers on the day of the event, Job Net’s emphasis is on networking and providing information to youth about the job market.
During the one day event, invited companies and job seekers freely interact and develop rapport. Job seekers have the unique opportunity to ask questions and learn more about their fields of interest, including employment opportunities from professionals or key players in the fields. This year 60 companies are expected to participate in Job Net.
Job Net offers participating companies an opportunity to showcase their products and services. Companies usually set up stands and put up banners with information about their products and services. Moreover, space is provided for them in the venue to display job vacancies in their organizations.
Participating in Job Net is also an opportunity for the companies to satisfy their Corporate Social Responsibility and contribute towards national development goals in line with Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2). With many companies gathered together in one venue, there is a unique opportunity for sector players to learn about the work of other companies in their areas, exchange ideas as well as find ways of working together.
Denis Bizimana the HR Manager of Lemigo Hotel says “Job Net gave me the opportunity to meet many qualified people at once at no cost at all to the hotel. I was able to interact with them and access their abilities. I maintained a database with their contacts and now whenever I have a vacancy, I simply contact them and I get the right person to work for us”.
Job Net is open to the public to attend at no fee. However, youth who wish to attend the Job Net are encouraged to register themselves with KESC on their official website, www.kescjobnet.rw. Those registered have the opportunity to undergo free preparation sessions for a period of 4 days. The sessions are a series of trainings dabbed labor market clinic. The youth are taught various subjects including self awareness where youth learn their strengths and talents and strategic self marketing to help them convince potential employers of their skills and to communicate effectively.
Thierry Mbaraga and Rogers Kimuli both 26 years old are beneficiaries of services offered at KESC and Job Net. Thierry works at Lemigo hotel as a waiter, a job he got through Job Net. Before he got the job, he had been searching for a period of three years. His fortunes changed when he visited KESC and started attending trainings that, among other things, built his self esteem. When he finally attended one of the Job Net, he confidently expressed himself and his current employer was impressed.
Rogers on the other hand works as a projects manager at Strive Foundation Rwanda, a position he has held for two years now. Before this he had been working in the informal sector. He was introduced to KESC by a friend and according to him KESC marked the beginning of a new page in his life. “I can say that KESC completely changed me. Before I attended trainings there, I was very shy and lacked self esteem. At KESC I learnt to be myself and I was inspired to explore other opportunities in life. There is so much to learn at KESC that if I had an opportunity now I would go back and learn more, take advantage of all their expert trainings.”
Thierry and Rogers encourage the youth to step up and register themselves with KESC to experience a whole new world about the opportunities around them and how to take advantage of them. “The youth should not just stay at home and wait for opportunities to find them but seek out opportunities and attend the free trainings at KESC” Thierry says.
Beginning this year, KESC is organizing a free one day special session for TVET graduates that will take place before Job Net. The session is organized in collaboration with AKAZI Kanoze and the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC). Although the session targets TVET graduates, university graduates and youth interested in TVET are welcome to attend. The session mainly informs the youth on opportunities available on TVET and financing opportunities available to help them secure funds to start businesses.
Besides Job Net, KESC maintains a database of more than 2,000 jobseekers with a wide range of skills and qualifications. The database has played a key role in easing the process of job matching for youth in Kigali and its environs. Potential employers can request for candidates with specific skills and qualifications from the database at no cost. KESC conducts a pre-screening of candidates for the companies and links up candidates with the potential employers.
Job Net is organized by KESC in collaboration with Ministry of Public Service and Labour and the German Corporation, GIZ.