Zambian sets up digital career guidance programme for rural youth
Jun 12 2012, Zambia [ZM], Education, Livelihood opportunities
CareerLink is a Zambian service that provides digital information about career opportunities for Zambian vocational students in rural Zambia in an attractive way. Five questions for Yese Bwalya, founder of Careermate, the project’s local partner.
What inspired you to create this career service for young people?
“ In Zambia, everyone focuses on the so called prestigious professions. Other opportunities for youth, such as working in agriculture are ignored. This is unfortunate, since these professions are often more suitable for vocational students. The purpose of this project is to provide students with all the information they need in order to make the right career choice, according to their training, personal skills and needs of their local community.”
How do you make sure the content of the website appeals to graduates?
“Careermate digitises information about career prospects that the Zambian Ministry of Education provides so that students can download the information. It is conveyed in an attractive way, using multimedia features such as videos and pictures, to draw the attention of the students.”
Could you give a practical example of how the system works?
“If someone has studied carpentry, we provide him with all the details on various career perspectives such as crafting, interior design and even the requirements to set up your own carpentry business in your area. This material is enriched with free digital books that help students in their studies and on the platform, students can also see pictures and videos of successful professionals in each sector. All sectors have a prospect of self employment or livelihood opportunities.
Your project is supported by IICD and Edukans in the Connect4Change consortium and also focuses on rural areas with no internet access. How do you reach students in those areas?
“ In addition to the online material, our team often visits schools to distribute CD ROMS with all the necessary material. The goal is to reach out to 40.000 students in the next five years. At its full potential, the website will provide videos of more than 2000 career profiles, with full details on each of them to make sure that the students are exposed to as many options as possible.”
And what’s the current status of the project?
Currently the Careermate team is carefully generating and gathering material from various sources, produces videos and makes sure that the content meets the quality standards and is gender balanced, before it reaches the students. The programme now functions on a pilot basis, with approximately 200 career profiles available. The demand on the career guidance material and the digital books is growing bigger and bigger. So far, the feedback Careermate has received by both government officials, students and parents, is very enthusiastic. We were visiting schools and students as well as their parents were asking us, where could they find us for more information. For this reason, Careermate created a walk-in office which students and parents with their children can visit to try out the material and discuss with the staff about their career options. “Students that are visiting us, invite their friends as well, to come and see what we have to offer. They simply do not want to leave our office”,
Yese Bwalya has an educational background in Information Technology and Education and has long working experience in the public,private and the development sectors, Media and ICT4D Training. For more information on this projest see: http://www.akvo.org/rsr/project/411/