Youth Jobs Fair Botswana
Youth Jobs Fairs are initiated and organised by a partnership network of eight young professionals, who are running their own small businesses or organisations and share an interest in empowering youth and promoting youth employment.
The providers’ network is comprised of and represented by:
- Ms Lillian Nkosazana Moremi (Career Coaching Pty Ltd) coordinates the planning of the fair, invites speakers and exhibitors, drafts the fair programme, looks for sponsors, facilitates work readiness sessions during the fair, invites youth through social media and feeds social media with news;
- Ms Maipeo Zambane (89Fifty Communications) specialises in social media content management (Facebook, Twitter, webpage);
- Ms Mmabatho Motsamai (The Afrolutionist) invites media, takes care of press releases, documents fair workshops, mobilises youth through social media, and gives radio interviews;
- Mr Christopher Christian Seagateng (BW Jobs for Graduates/ BWJ4G) mobilises young people to attend the fair, conducts one-to-one talks with young fair visitors reviewing their CVs, and promotes stakeholder relations;
- Mr Tshepo Baldozwi (Botswana Student Network) mobilises visitors and volunteers to come to the fair and coordinates the work of volunteers during the fair;
- Ms Naima Tseladikae (Safayah Designs) designs the fair’s posters, flyers, and banners;
- Ms Gorata Motlhagodi and Ms Precious Mashamaite manage online registration of participants and exhibitors during the fair.
The fairs are based on team work, youth initiative, and voluntarism.
Youth Jobs Fairs offer free of charge services for all young job-seekers between the approximate ages of 16 to 35, irrespective of their education background or status. Many young visitors have been looking for work for months or years.
Employers have free access to present what they offer to youth in terms of wage employment or different forms of workplace learning (e.g. internships, attachments, job-shadowing).
Other youth service providers (e.g. higher education institutions, public employment offices, recruitment companies, non-governmental organizations or projects) share information and present their respective institutions and services.
Botswana Youth Jobs Fairs provide practical solutions to increase decent employment for young job-seekers with the objectives of
- motivating and preparing young people for labour market entry;
- matching young job-seekers with vacant positions (jobs or internships).
The Botswana Youth Jobs Fairs are networking with public institutions and increasingly advocating for youth employment promotion at the policy level. Orientation and Information as well as skills training are prominent elements of the fair. Matchmaking is important, too, but achieving high success rates is difficult as there are many young job-seekers and comparatively few employers with only few vacant positions.
The partnership of young business or social entrepreneurs is based on the joint vision of empowering youth; this network is the heart and soul of the fair, basically managing all tasks involved:
- reaching out to youth, mobilising them to participate;
- attracting employers to exhibit;
- managing invitations of service providers, speakers, and role models;
- promoting the fair through social media with short video clips;
- organising the venue and the event;
- reviewing its results for improved organisation in the next round.
The fairs depend significantly on these young activists and the young volunteers and helpers they manage to involve. The fact that young people have put this project together has motivated other young people to also stand up and create spaces where they can continue to help empower their peers.
Botswana Youth Jobs Fairs last between three to five days. The first days of the fair focus on orientation, training and informationVisitors choose from the agenda sessions, workshops or presentations they would like to attend. The other days are dedicated to facilitating face-to-face contact between visitors and employers/ entrepreneurs. A broad range of services are offered during the comparatively longer events, which may last for up to five days:
- “Professional orientation” meaning, in this context, preparing young job-seekers for a work or business environment, helping them understand corporate cultures and the recruitment strategies and processes of companies and organisations. It includes informing youth why and how to prepare CVs, and what to do before, during and after job interviews.
- Workplace readiness workshops offer encouragement to young people, many of whom are disappointed after having submitted many applications with little success. They motivate and assist young people to revise their job search strategies and to also explore self-employment opportunities.
- Learning about the country’s labour laws. The Labour Department of the Ministry of Labour presents Botswana’s labour laws and the rights and duties of employees and employers.
- As part of the “Entrepreneurship Talks”, young entrepreneurs are invited to share with visiting job-seekers how they started their businesses and talk about their challenges and achievements. Business development agencies provide information on start-up support and funds.
- Presentation by service providers (e.g. public employment offices, higher education institutions, policy programmes, etc.)
- Meeting employers, exploring employment and work based learning opportunities
- Premises and chairs are offered free of charge by the hosting institution.
- Companies bring their own tables and banners.
- The fairs depend significantly on voluntary work, both, in the preparation phase as well as during the event. The provider network engages 10 to 20 volunteers, who assist the coordinators during the fair. They receive a certificate of appreciation afterwards. Volunteers help with registration, take care of participants and speakers, help prepare the venue daily, and give valuable feedback to the organising team.
- In-kind sponsorships are sourced, such as the venues, food for volunteers, or snacks and refreshments for participants (which have been donated by the Botswana National Youth Council).
- Sometimes donations can be sourced from individuals.
- Symbolic patronage of high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, the Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development and the Botswana National Youth Council adds to the status of the fair and attracts visitors and media.
- Every partner of the providers’ network produces short video clips promoting the fair to youth.
The driving force is the engagement of the provider network, who are young themselves and very committed to their mission. This gives credibility, inspiration and attracts contributions from others. The fairs are not for profit. However, they are vibrant, dynamic and increasingly becoming a well-known brand and institution in Botswana.
The fairs reach out to approximately 1,200 to 2,000 young people, who take part in the training and face-to-face interactions with the companies.
An increasing number of employers are participating (lately around 20).
Young job-seekers appreciate the support as there is currently no comparable service available to them. Although many visitors cannot expect to walk away with an employment contract, they do appreciate the information, orientation, preparation, and motivation available at the fair.
The Youth Jobs Fair Botswana believes in young people as great partners in eradicating unemployment, who should be involved as actors (as opposed of being merely recipients) and also sets an example: the young providers’ network organises the fairs relying much on their own means and resources. They are utilising, growing and advertising their own capacities as young professionals.
At the same time, the young network is creating learning-by-working opportunities for other volunteers, and is offering highly valued services free of charge to job fair visitors.
One challenge of setting up the Botswana Youth Jobs Fair involves raising the interest and commitment of employers to send their human resource staff (instead of their marketing and sales department).
Through the support of Business Botswana, the private sector’s national umbrella organisation, companies and organisations are approached for financial or in-kind support.