Employment Service Centres in Rwanda
The Kigali Employment Service Centre (KESC) was the first public employment service provider to be established in Rwanda. It was launched in 2013 by the City of Kigali Vice Mayor’s Office for Social Affairs and the Ministry of Labour and Public Services. Initial support was provided by the GIZ Promotion of Economy and Employment (“Eco-Emploi”) Programme.
KESC is – with its seven employees – a small centre in relation to the size of the population it serves. As a part of its quality as a placement service provider to jobseekers and employers, KESC has innovatively developed and tested a variety of tools in two other employment promotion categories (orientation, preparation). KESC serves as resource centre to other institutions (e.g. Technical Schools) and policy makers, and supports employment promotion with technical advice and advocacy. KESC served as a model for Rwanda’s second centre, which opened in Musanze in 2015.
KESC targets job seekers and employers in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. It offers free of charge services to all citizens and all formally established enterprises. Most registered jobseekers are recently graduated young people seeking employment.
With respect to jobseekers, KESC provides access to labour market information and offers training to upgrade skills and knowledge with the objective of increasing jobseekers’ competitiveness in the job market. KESC facilitates employment by placing jobseekers into vacant positions. KESC also supports self-employment with entrepreneurship training.
Regarding employers, KESC’s objective is to continuously increase the number of formal employers it cooperates with. KESC links well-prepared applicants to employers. Indirectly, KESC is contributing to youth employment promotion on an institutional level, as it has grown into a competent resource centre for many employment related issues: KESC undertakes research and technically advises policymakers and donor agencies. It collaborates with companies, training providers, technical schools, universities and other NGOs (e.g. DOT Rwanda, Akazi Kanoze).
KESC serves a large population in a labour market environment that has only modest absorption capacities by the formal private sector. The education system focuses on academic achievements with little support for students managing transition from education into the world of work.
Apart from its placement services, KESC, therefore, runs many activities for preparing and orienting young people.
KESC operates a drop-in centre with computers, professional employment counsellors, and internet access. Placements are achieved through
- the KESC online webpage, where companies can advertise open positions;
- personal contacts with jobseekers, who register at the centre and receive counselling;
- active outreach to employers and quick responses to employers’ requests;
- databank entries to match jobseekers’ profiles with profiles of vacant positions;
- and through job fairs (“JobNet”).
The Centre also serves as venue for a variety of trainings, ranging from CV writing, entrepreneurship, computer training, to career guidance workshops and information events on specific economic sectors, like tourism and hospitality, for example.
The City of Kigali with the KESC collaborated with the Rwandan Workforce Development Authority (WDA) under the Ministry of Education to develop a career education programme (“Career Coaching Course”) for technical education and training institutions (technical secondary schools, polytechnics, and vocational training centres). Mrs. Aline Umutoni, KESC Employment Counsellor, engaged as a career guidance expert and co-trained 22 coaches. The Career Coaching Course was piloted with GIZ support in ten TVET institutions (public and private schools and training centres) in Kigali.
KESC offers placements into jobs, self-employment, internships, and into training through the centre (drop-in), through online tools (KESC homepage or other online job portals), and through job fairs:
Jobseekers can visit the centre, register, and receive employment counselling to improve their job search strategies, their application documents or be provided information about job vacancies or training opportunities.
Job seekers also can use the self-help tools (computers, internet) and are provided access to the KESC homepage and other online job portals.
Companies post vacancies on the KESC homepage or have vacant positions listed into the databank holding information on vacancies, companies, and jobseekers’ profiles.
Another way of placing young people into jobs or internships is the JobNet, which KESC organises every year in cooperation with government institutions, training providers, and employers. Young people are prepared for the event with information (on technical and vocational training opportunities), orientation (on the hidden labour market, on how employers look for employees, or on IT tools useful for the job search), training (CV writing, job search techniques, interview skills), and counselling (e.g. CV checking and coaching).
The event’s main purpose is to facilitate direct contact between jobseekers and employers for recruitment. Young jobseekers, however, need the information, orientation, and preparation services to be able to benefit from direct encounters with employers (at the JobNet as well as at the Centre).
Apart from placement, KESC offers also a variety of training, workshops, and information events:
- Entrepreneurial skills training preparing for self-employment (10 days);
- English language training (basic or advanced level) consisting of 24 sessions over 3 months totalling to 72 hours (per level);
- IT/ Computer training (5 days);
- Job Search and Application Training (4 days);
- Storytelling for Women Leadership Training (2 days);
- Communication Skills Training (1 day);
- Career guidance workshops (“Opportunity Scouting”) lasting 10 days;
- Information events of two to four hours on specific business sectors to raise public awareness about labour market trends in prospective economic sectors;
- Career Orientation Training for the Hospitality sector (10 sessions totalling 30 hours) or for Tourism (2 training days).
1 Centre Manager 2 Employment Counsellors (working with jobseekers) 1 IT Officer 1 Labour Market Information Officer 2 Placement Officers (working with employers)
The centre is a building with four offices, and two public spaces offering workplaces with 30 computers. Sometimes additional training venues are rented.
The City of Kigali provides the budget for permanent operational costs (staffing, facilities, supplies). Specific interventions and events (like the JobNet) are financially supported by development partners (donors).
JobNets are effective, however human resource-intense and costly: Preparation and implementation of the job fair involves more than 40 people (KESC staff, interns, trainers, cooperation partners) and financial means to cover costs for renting the venue and technical equipment, training materials and trainers, advertisements, drinking water and lunch.
Based on the surveys, that follow every JobNet, clients are very content with the event: 97% of the 1,200 jobseekers visiting the JobNet in 2017 and 98% of the 51 exhibiting companies expressed satisfaction with the service. About 300 jobseekers could be placed into internships or jobs in 2017. All participating employers continued cooperation with the KESC.
Seven tracer studies have been conducted to monitor KESC’s placement results which add up (cumulatively across four years) to about 150 placements into permanent employment, 300 into temporary jobs, 140 into internships and 120 into self-employment. This is in addition to more than 550 placements at the JobNet in 2015, 2016, and 2017. KESC, itself, is employing interns on a regular basis (up to 8 interns at a time, for a six- month-internship).
Apart from information sessions and preparation services for JobNet visitors, several types of Training are conducted on a regular basis and free of charge for jobseekers. These include:
- Job search and application training for almost 900 participants in 2017 (at the centre and at the job fair);
- Entrepreneurial skills training with 60 participants in 2015, 515 participants in 2016, and 95 participants in 2017;
- Computer/ IT courses with about 45 to 50 participants graduating per year;
- English language courses for 10 to 70 participants per year;
- Career guidance training workshops (“Opportunity Scouting”) for about 20 participants annually.
- KESC developed an intense and comprehensive career guidance training workshop for jobseekers which combines self-awareness, opportunity awareness, goal setting and transition planning with application training.
- KESC supported the Rwandan Workforce Development Authority in developing and pilot testing the „Career Coaching Course (CCC)“, which prepares technical school students to better manage school to work-transition.
- KESC was involved in the capacity building of Rwanda’s second public employment centre in Musanze and serves as training provider to other organisations and institutions in employment related fields.
Placement services are very important to jobseekers and are also relevant to employers. However, both types of clients need some guidance to be able to make use of the service.
Jobseekers often visit the centre with high and unrealistic expectations as schools do not prepare students well, neither for the job search nor for self-employment. When unemployment rates are high, employers receive many applications and may feel little need to turn to professional placement services. Only formally registered companies can use the public employment service, which is generally not the first resource employers rely on when seeking staff. As a newly established provider and the first of its kind in Rwanda, many employers are simply not aware of the services it can provide them.
While jobseekers find their way to KESC in search of employment opportunities comparatively easily, the outreach to employers requires KESC staff to take a much more proactive approach to identify vacant positions and to quickly filter jobseekers with matching profiles for placements.
Financing services for unemployed jobseekers is a challenge: The services are free of charge for clients. Provision depends on public funding and on occasional donor support.
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