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Eric Lauer, the Everjobs Africa CEO visited the Everjobs Uganda office last week, during which time he held this interview. In the interview, he expounds on what Everjobs is all about; revealing what inspired opening their office in Uganda and the future for the job portal. He also tips fresh graduates entering the job market and the unemployed people in general on how to land their dream job.
Here are the interview excerpts:
• Eric, please tell us about the foundation of Everjobs?
The launch of Everjobs started in 2015 with a simple truth: young professionals in Africa struggle with finding a job in the formal sector. This is caused by several factors, like structural ones, as there is a huge amount of jobs in the informal sector across Africa. But there is also an information gap, as many job young job seekers do not have information about vacancies offered by top employers in the country. Therefore it is the main goal of everjobs to make these vacancies easily accessible to job seekers to give equal opportunities to everyone. At the start of our journey, we noticed that no pan-African career portal enabling Africans to easily access career opportunities in other African countries exists. As African markets are getting more and more integrated our teamthought it would make sense to make all career opportunities available across Africa.
• Why do you believe in Everjobs?
Three of my main passions brought me to Everjobs: Africa, Digital and Public sector. Before I joined Everjobs, I was a management consultant for the world leading consulting firm McKinsey, where I had some engagements across Africa. They were mostly in French-speaking Africa and I was really excited by this experience. There wear many challenges but even more opportunities, fueled by an economic boom and a population driving for a better life. So I really wanted to participate in the African success story.
Further I am really passionate about digital and the digitalization of traditional economies. The re-shaping of sectors, like banking or tourism, through the digital revolution fascinated me- and I have participated in various digitalization projects in my previous career for large multinational corporations. And the recruitment industry is also part of this huge change.
Lastly, I was since my high school time highly interested in public sectors issues, especially economic and social policies and politics. In Africa unemployment is a huge issue and social unrest, and I am pretty sure that we as Everjobs can make a change for good in Africa.
So by adding my three passions with a bit of risk-taking or foolishness you automatically arrive at Everjobs, the pan-African job portal.
• So Eric you have told us a lot about the development of Everjobs, where are you currently?
The development has been full of adrenaline so far but there are still a lot of things to do. But actually I am really impressed by the fast speed of our growth – I have launched on average one new everjobs country office every month. Currently we are already operation in West and East Africa. In West Africa we are operating in Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Senegal. East Africa was our second step with starting here in Uganda. Just recently we opened our offices in Tanzania and Ethiopia.
• So what is your plan for the future?
Our plan is to run business in around 20 African countries by end of 2016. My vision is also our hardest challenge: getting Everjobs accessible to African SMEs. They need to have access to the best talents to expand and they now mostly recruit by word of mouth, which limits them tremendously. I’m sure that Everjobs can bring a revolution to the human capital of SMEs and small family business in Uganda and entire Africa.
In the many meetings I have with Heads of Human Resources one issue is always brought up: the huge gap between the skills on the CV and the actual skills on the job. So I also aim for Everjobs to have a big impact on employability and close this gap. We’re working hard to reach out to leading education facilities like universities, to put online quality content from our partners in many industries and career advice to reduce this gap. Downsizing this employability gap will make this talent revolution actual.
• Eric, as career portal you are not just improving recruitment, you are also employing a lot of people. What is the human side of Everjobs?
Our staff size is also growing very quickly. Taking together central and country teams we are employing around 100 people and this number will grow up to 300 people in 2016. Just take Uganda as an example, we started this year with one person in office and now we already have a team of five. The team is still growing, planning to open up some internship opportunities soon.
The country teams are having the chance to meet hundreds of enthusiastic Heads of Human Resources who want to be part of this great project and are currently actively using Everjobs for their recruitment. I’m verygrateful to them. They are also taking care of all applicants by providing them with good feedback to increase their employability. We at Everjobs care for people and aim at giving equal opportunities to all clients. The contact with our user base is very interesting, as they give a lot of feedback to make our service better. So we are improving on a daily basis. However, sometimes it is also very challenging.
• Eric, you at Everjobs did not invent this segment, so there are a lot of competitors in the market, what sets you apart from them?
Firstly, our intention is to have a true pan-African footprint, which makes a lot of sense both on supply side of the job market for employers and demand side for professionals. As we had a lot discussions with Heads of Human Resources of large multinationals we gained the insight that they aim at sourcing talents on a regional basis, be it all of East Africa, all of West & Central Africa or sometimes even at the African continent level.
There is increasing mobility of talents across Africa, so we’re able to offer them opportunities outside their local labor market. Professionals also experience everjobs different. Our service is 100% free for professionals and we will never charge someone for linking them with job opportunities.
Further, we directly link job seekers with the Heads of HR unlike aggregators that combine job openings from companies’ career portals so applicants never know where their application is going. We guarantee that their application lands directly with the Heads of HR. Even more significant, candidates are always informed when their application is read by recruiters. This aims reducing the kind of anxiety you face when waiting for an interview!
Another main distinction is on the product for our clients. We’re working hard to give as many functionalities as possible to Heads of HR. With our standardized CVs, they can use many filters on the search. The filters are based on the relevancy for the position offered. We’re also giving them the opportunity to head hunt directly in our CV database so that they have a glimpse of the talents available in the country.
In the last step, we also offer background checks of applicants after they’ve been short-listed candidates to verify the references of an applicant
• Any success stories you would like to share?
Yes and we’ve had a lot across Africa. The ones that are the most moving for me are when we get testimonials of professionals who found a job through Everjobs and thank us by telling that they are really grateful. An example is Solomon who is working now for AAR Health in Uganda. He called our country manager Julian and told him: “Thanks a lot for your advice and insights, I got a job with AAR through your job portal. Its a terrific experience, no payment no bribes!”
• Why did you start the East-Africa expansion in Uganda?
Uganda has several advantages that made us to come here as starting point of our East Africa Expansion. Firstly, we already have a big hub here with our sister companies (HelloFood, Kaymu, Jovago, Jumia and Lamudi).
Secondly, we have seen that Uganda needs us. High unemployment rates and a traditional recruitment system that needs improvements. Thirdly, Uganda is booming and politically stable.
And lastly, we find here a highly skilled workforce that is willing to make the next step.
• What do you see as challenges for Everjobs in Uganda?
We also see a gap between applicants’ abilities and their applications. Highly skilled people apply for low-skilled positions and vice versa. Further employability is a problem, so people lack of essential skills. This is not only our experience but also stated by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), who say that over 63% of youth in Uganda lack employability skills, technical know-how and basic work-related capabilities. Also the World Bank reported that over 70% of an approximated 400,000 fresh graduates in Uganda were deemed unemployable.Applicants are also not used to online applications at all.
To overcome these weaknesses our team here is giving feedback to all applicants. We are also aiming at doing offline training sessions in the future to meet our main goal: bring together the best employers with the best talent. As the opportunities in Uganda are way higher than the challenges, we are sure that we have create many success stories of people finding a new job and changing their life with Everjobs.
• Which motivation would you give to:
– University students entering the labor market soon?
You should go for every opportunity that gives you work experience. You can do a company project or competition at university? Do it! You can get an internship? Go for it! And you should never wait for the opportunities coming to you – you should be proactive and get in touch with decision makers at companies. Also associations are a good opportunity to already get to know experienced managers and experts in the area of interest.
Lastly, be always curious and ask questions. Always follow the Chinese proverb: “He who asks a question remains a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever”.
-Unemployed people in Uganda?
Firstly you should be proactive. Finding a job takes some time and efforts, but the perfect job will hardly come to you without any work.
Secondly, job seekers should also use their time to get additional training. Learn new skills, e.g. computer skills or a new language. This does not have to be expensive. You can start with books or online courses. We have also some tips in our job journal on how to improve your skills and abilities.
Further you should always keep your CV and your application documents up-to-date and accurate, but never lie – as lies don’t travel far.
Lastly, you should use a platform like Everjobs. This will connect you always with the best employers and the best job opportunities. Further Everjobs provides you with a lot of useful tips and hints. And the best thing about Everjobs: it is and will ever be free of charge for applicants.
• Do you have a motto?
There is a lot of truth in this quote by Lionel Messi: “You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it”.
Interview: Fort Portal’s Joseph Israel Mwebesa talks about his music journey
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By Our Reporter
Joseph Israel Mwebesa is a household name in Fort Portal. He is a singer, song writer, instrumentalist and also Director at Creations Band.
We caught up with him as he prepares for his debut solo album launch titled “I Love Fort Portal”.
Tell us abit about yourself.
I am a gifted song writer, singer, composer and instrumentalist. I am also a trained counselor and a professional Marketer (ACIM).
Why did you choose music despite your good professional training?
My professional training has continuously created in me a conviction and challenge to use my musical talents to create a bigger solution in society especially tapping into people’s special talents and abilities. Most importantly, its passion driven since my childhood. Without passion, I would have given up.
What new things have you brought to the music industry in Tooro?
By 2011, many considered it hard to sing Rutooro and English. But my coming to the industry proved them wrong. If you access them on our creations band website www.creationsband.com or on YouTube, you will confirm this. People in Tooro and western Uganda now appreciate and enjoy Tooro Music. In my musical career, I have written a number of songs for people including couples and organizations, put up my first Rutooro Album “I Love Fort Portal” and will be launching it on the 27th of December at Nyaika Hotel Fort Portal. Have also come up with 3 key collaborations including “True Love” currently doing very well on a number of radio stations. I have established Creations Band a recording and performing band.
Which achievement do you take pride in so far in your music career?
My music and message have so far reached many people in Tooro and changed negative attitude towards Tooro Music. The online platforms for my music have very encouraging feedback. We have somehow twisted the role of music from mere entertainment to edutainment using songs like Beautiful Land, Power within you, Myekwaso, I love Fort Portal etc. and that’s good.
What’s so special with your new album you plan to launch?
This is my first-born album, that alone drives a special attachment. It has unique songs many of which are inspirational talking about my sentiments and attachments to my sweet Motherland Tooro. Its rare for an artiste to just come up with a full music album about a place. Its on record, I have made a great contribution to lift the brand of Tooro and that’s quite special about the Album.
Tell us more about the “I Love Fort Portal” album.
The album has 14 songs – 4 of which directly talk about Fort portal and the Beauty and endowment of Tooro. These include; the Beautiful Land, Tooro Nsi Nungi and Come Home. Most of them are inspirational in nature while others are very nice love songs. The song “I Love Fort Portal” lays the foundation for the entire album. It was not only my very first song but also provided direction for writing other songs on the album. The album has two collaborations with the recent one being True Love, a very captivating love song. There are other very enjoyable songs like Nyamaizi which is a blend of modern styles and traditional Tooro style of music.
What can people expect at the launch?
We have planned to make it quite different, very entertaining and memorable. It will be a live show of entertainment and a demonstration of solidarity for Tooro Music. I am working hard to ensure all legendary Musicians of Tooro like John Kaawha, Akiiki Romeo and others perform at the concert.
What are your long-term goals as a musician?
With Creations Band, I hope to make it a strong music label in Uganda which will not only promote musical talent but also be a platform for advocacy, empowerment and promotion of special talents and abilities among youth in Uganda. My dream is to make more or less a home of best talents at creations Band. There are currently many unemployed talented young people and that hurts! They should be employing their talents.
Northern Rapper Of The Year O.P.U KOBOKOBOY Speaks about Life In The Village and New Music
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By Staff Writer
- What have you been up?
I took some time off and went looking for inspiration in other areas of life. Moved back to Koboko in June 2017 been here since for about 2 years and 1 month.
- Moved back of Koboko? What inspired that move?
I lived in Kampala my whole life and needed to get away from the noise and hustle of the big city, I needed to reset. I believe that Kampala is already divided in terms of business opportunities, it already has business men like Patrick Bitatrure and Sudir who have defined the business world by running so many businesses in different fields. They have defined Kampala. However this is not the case in the West Nile there are many businesses that are yet to be established and I would like to be a part of that next wave.
Aside from that I just wanted to connect with my roots.
- We saw on your social media handles as you documented this change as you closed your apartments in Kampala and urban Koboko, how was that change for you?
It was exciting and scary but needed to be done and I have now been living in the village for the last 4 weeks. The village is everything I thought it would be, it very quiet and peaceful. I get a lot of time to read and reflect. I finally got a TV after 4 years of living with no TV, so am really enjoying watching local TV, I feel like my TV connects me to the rest of the world. I have got a chance to get learn my history better. Overall this change was overdue. I have also got a lot time to listen to my podcasts.
- We see you of late posting a lot under the hash tag Camp-Ludaville, what can you tell us about this?
One of my plans is set up a camping site in Koboko and we are in the process of making this reality, we hope to be open soon and are currently getting everything in place we hope to be open before the end of the year. With Camp Ludaville we also hope to expose the other beautiful tourism attractions in Koboko and the West Nile in general. This is going to be the first camp site in the West Nile and am very excited to be a part of this project. Looking forward to seeing how this will unfold.
We shall be opening our doors soon and will let the public know.
- Tell us about the Made in West Nile Tee-Shirt Line?
The Made In West Nile brand is bigger than a merchandise brand, to me it’s a reflection of a state of mind showing where the West Nile is heading with this new millennial generation of West Nile youth. It is up to us the millennials and Gen Z generation to build a new modern identity for the West Nile to do that we have to build new and beautiful things from the West and export them to the world. MADE IN WEST NILE is just the start of a beautiful story in the making.
For now though we have started with the Made In West Nile T-Shirts that are on sale at a very low price of 20,000 UGX and can be delivered anywhere in the world. We look at these t-shirts as a statement of pride for those coming from the West Nile.
- In December of 2018, we saw that you expanded your business portfolio by venturing into the Silent Disco business, what can you tell us about that venture?
Well I got inspired to venture into the business after attending a few silent disco events myself in Kampala. I got the inspiration to replicate the experience in the West Nile, at the time of our first silent disco we were the first to pull of an event of that nature in Koboko. The brand name of the event is called the “West Nile Silent Disco” and we have been able to hold 6 editions so far. The idea was to bring this new technology in entertainment to the West Nile and we at West Nile Entertainment are committed to creating new experiences in this region. I have acquired some silent disco headphones that are open for hire for any readers out there if in need.
One of the challenges is that we had to introduce the people in Koboko to a relatively to a new entertainment concept that costed a lot more than what they are used to paying a ticket costed 30,000 Ugx per ticket at an upscale hotel out of town plus we also pushed for early bird ticket purchases and these were all new to the masses but the few that got the concept enjoyed our level of service delivery and look forward to future editions.
- You began 2019 by winning the award for “Northern Rapper of the Year” at the 3rd MTN Hip Hop Awards. Tell us about that experience.
Well I have been nominated in the previous awards in the past years in a number of categories but this was the first that I won at. I think moving back to Koboko played a big role in getting me that award because I have been able to make music that relates with my people who have in turn become fans and built for me a more loyal fan base than before and that’s how we won. The West Nile radio stations have also played a big role getting my music played more frequently and this massive radio rotation has been a major factor in my growth and I will always be thankful to all the media personas and fans, it’s with their support that I won that award.
- We saw a picture of you on social media with Gbaraspoken and Rappa BlueTit under the hashtag Coko_Coko_Clan, what is that about?
For that you will have to wait and see.
- You have been questioned for taking too long to release new music, what is your thought process when putting out new music and is there any new music?
For me its quality over quantity, my focus is to make music that carries a long term message and will last for the taste of time. I have only put out so far 4 songs on West Nile radio which were Alemi, Akamine, Dear Listener, and Nyege Nyege Turn Up. Now look at what we have been able to do with only 4 songs now ask yourself what we are going to able to do when we reach song number 10.I guess time will tell. But I think it will be massive. As for the new music yes, there is new music on the way, I did a song with Pasha and Andy Music, the song is called “Number Alu”, it will be on radio soon. Also the music video to “Dear Listener” is ready we will be dropping it soon for now everyone should subscribe to my YouTube channel or visit www.kobokoboy.com.The music video to Nyege Nyege Turn Up featuring Kemishan is also ready and should be out soon.
Interview: One on one with the first ever SafeBoda rider
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By Our Reporter
He has been elusive to many. But we have finally managed to locate the first ever SafeBoda rider. He is a lively young man, with a charming smile. We had a chat with him about his journey thus far as a SafeBoda rider and here are the excerpts:
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Moses Musinguzi. I was born in Kasese, and I am 29 years old.
I completed my senior six at City High school in 2009, but couldn’t continue with further studies because university tuition was very high. I could not manage to support myself, so I instead decided to use my savings to start a business, and I later ended up as a bodaboda rider.
I am the first ever SafeBoda rider; you can call me SafeBoda 01.
What were you doing before SafeBoda?
Before joining SafeBoda, I was a business man.
I joined the BodaBoda industry in 2007 as a motorcycle mechanic. I also used to monitor my father’s Bodaboda business; he used to give out motorcycles on lease, and I was in charge of collecting the payment.
I later opened up my own motorcycle spare parts shop. But, in 2013, the business collapsed and that’s how I ended up as a Bodaboda rider.
How did you end up with SafeBoda?
Early 2014, I ran into a former client of mine for whom I used to repair motorcycles, who also happened to be the co-founder SafeBoda, Ricky Thomson. He told me about his idea, and I liked it because he told me that it would improve the image of the Bodaboda industry.
He told me that we were going to be provided with two helmets and reflector jackets, and then we would build a community of like-minded riders, gain people’s trust, and make it a premium service.
Having dropped out of school, I wanted to associate with a brand that would make me proud among my former colleagues hence I decided to work with safeboda.
What has the journey been like for you?
It has been as exciting as it has been challenging.
I joined safeBoda in 2014 as the onboarding officer and was charged with interviewing, training and recruiting riders. In 2015, I became the Driver Technology manager and was helping trouble shoot any problems riders had with using the SafeBoda platform. I later went on to join the driver engagement and support team which is about maintaining riders on the platform. But because the numbers have grown, we split up driver engagement and support and I am now leading the driver support team.
All this time, I have been a part time SafeBoda rider and also employee. But I am finally resting my motorcycle to become a full time employee.
I will miss being an active Bodaboda rider. I used to love meeting all those amazing people, but I have to specialize now and work on my personal goals. Although I will not be in the field, I will still continue to serve them indirectly.
What has been your biggest challenges as a SafeBoda rider?
My biggest challenge so far has been harassment from other riders who have not embraced the platform. Mostly the harassment has been verbal. For instance, when we stop at the traffic lights they hurl insults at you as they tell you to get out of their way. They see us as traitors because we offer low fares to customers.
What have been your biggest achievements as a SafeBoda rider?
With SafeBoda, I have learnt to be more professional. For instance, I have be trained on how to handle customers better, received first aid training and also learnt how to interact with technology.
Because of SafeBoda, I also no longer have to hide from my former school colleagues because I am no longer seen as a failure and this makes me proud.
Finally, I have also managed to construct a fully furnished 3-bedroom house, and I am also paying school fees for my kids.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am planning to go back to school and complete university where I will pursue a Bachelor’s degree in data science or project planning and management. My dream is to become a renowned data analyst.
My second goal is to reestablish my old business, which I will run parallel with new position at SafeBoda.
What is your advice to fellow SafeBoda riders?
My advice to fellow riders is to stay away from things that consume their income. They should learn how to save and invest. They can always take on investments which are not high risk for example investing in another motorcycle.
Secondly, they should learn to treat customers better and abide by the SafeBoda rules so that they can stay on the platform which allows them to earn more.
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