There is a high number of youth skilling programs today but very little or no information is known about the impact they have actually created.
Among the most recently launched is the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling program. The program funded by MTN Foundation, the charity arm of MTN Uganda and implemented by Ubunifu Systems was created with the aim of empowering youth to become job creators. The program also sought to boost innovation with the aim of solving challenges in society.
Following the recently concluded inaugural graduation ceremony where 60 youth were empowered with technical and digital business skills, MTN and Ubunifu systems organized a webinar deciphering ways in which organizations can track the impact of youth skilling programs. The webinar also spoke to how youth can implement the learnings from the programs.
Speaking during the webinar, the guest speaker, Edmund Walusimbi , founder of The Secret Initiative, a youth motivational program and campus ambassador of Startup Africa, advised youth to only learn what they intend to use.
He urged the youth to utilize the PDCA management formula which involves planning, doing, checking and acting.
“You plan a process and execute the process. As you do that, you notice areas that need improvement, garnering feedback, interact with customers and that ushers you into the checking stage to analyze what works and what does not. The final stage is acting upon the information you have received. This now needs to become a vicious circle because it will help improve your personal and business brand,” he said.
Irene Nandyose, a co-founder of Candid crafts, a business that provides market for artisans and alumni of the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling program also has an individual business knitting and crocheting. The young lady says she has gained a lot from the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling program to the benefit of her crocheting venture.
“Personally I have seen changes in the projects I am involved in. In the beginning, I had a low stock turnover due to high pricing. After the training, I picked lessons from entrepreneurship, marketing and product development training to research, engage and interact with my customers which has since boosted my sales,” she narrates.
Speaking to organisations, Walusimbi said it is important to ensure that they have key performance indicators for the trainees undertaking the program.
“It is important to identify key performance indicators. They are a form of performance measurement used for tracking impact of organisations. These can be tailored around the roles or vision of the organization for example a digital skills training center can be assessed through the ability for people to create websites and online advertising campaigns,” he explained adding that it is important to ensure the indicator is reliable and relevant.
Evaluation of the trainees is also important. Walusimbi explained that organisations can utilize online forms to assess the qualitative and quantitative data about the impact of the program.
“Some of the tips on creating smart evaluation forms include: mostly using specific objective questions during the assessment. Make the form short and concise to fill, highlight anonymity as people love secrecy when it comes to giving honest feedback,” he notes.
It is also very important to explain to the trainees the vitality of honest feedback for improvement of the training programs.
There are also simple software programs that can be used to make the smart evaluation forms for instance Google forms, Microsoft forms and Air table.
Walusimbi also advised to create a community of the trainees (alumni) with the goal of building sustainability of the empowerment.
An alumni, he said will create an accommodating environment for the youth to bond and freely share ideas for growth.
“Recognize the fact that everyone grows at different paces to give room for the members to grow at ease. It is also important to document the achievements of the members to create proof of the impact,” he tipped organisations.
Nelson Munyanda, a manager at MTN Foundation in charge of youth empowerment said the Foundation is glad to have witnessed positive results from the trainees such as Nandyose noting that MTN is keen to see results and commits to create a sustainable and successful skilling program to reduce unemployment among the youth.