This year 2021, Kepler launched an exciting program in partnership with Rwanda Polytechnic to boost the employability of TVET graduates through soft skills, job readiness training and industrial attachment within its colleges starting with IPRC Gishari. The training comprises professional competencies, communication skills, problem-solving, critical thinking, and career readiness training and will be taken by students followed by industrial attachments. The program will serve 1100 TVET students over the next two years.
“We are excited about this partnership and its impact is going to be significant for the TVET education system in the region. This program is possible thanks to the leadership of the Rwanda Polytechnic who have been welcoming and open to collaboration and partnership. Kepler’s experience in boosting employment outcomes through soft skills training and career support has been remarkable. We are excited to scale our impactful experience through this private-public partnership. This is possible through training of the trainers (TOT) , where Kepler staff will share their expertise on soft skills training to Rwanda Polytechnic and IPRC staff in order to ensure the sustainability of the program. ” said Professor Baylie Damtie Yeshita, Vice-Chancellor at Kepler.The long term goal of the partnership is to scale the program and cover all IPRCs over the next few years. We will learn critical lessons from the IPRC Gishari pilot.
“As IPRC Management, we are excited about this program because our students lack soft skills. In the past, we have received negative feedback from employers and partners regarding students’ attitudes and communication styles at work and we have been looking for ways to address this gap.
We intend to apply tracer surveys to gauge the impact of the training and we cannot wait to see the positive changes.” said Fred Shema, Ag Deputy Principal for Academics at IPRC Gishari.
More than training
The Kepler careers team together with IPRC Gishari staff will also establish a feedback loop with employers to evaluate the student success in industrial attachments (internships) and advance subsequent training.
“At Kepler, we are constantly in touch with employers to hear how our students are doing and what we can improve in our curriculum and work readiness training to achieve better outcomes for our students and for employers. We hope to share our experiences including our career support structure with IPRC Gishari,” said Karoli Kolokonyi, Director of Careers and Alumni Affairs at Kepler.
Testimonies from the graduates
‘It used to be so difficult for me to plan my daily activities because I could multi-task but end up without accomplishing any task. The program taught me goal setting and prioritization, which helps me to stay organized now and achieve my goals.’ Reflects Peter Mbonyimana
I learned about professional email writing, which helped me to communicate with my supervisor when I was preparing for my final project. I now know the essential parts of a professional email plus how to write a good cover letter.
Before the SCAD program, I feared interviews, but now I know how to prepare for an interview with high chances of succeeding for employment. I learned about memo writing, giving and receiving feedback such that I overcame fear of approaching my superiors. I have understood its importance, I can muster the courage to do it.
We also learned about typing fast using a computer keyboard with home row keys and I am working hard to improve so as to save my time while writing different reports
‘Thanks to the SCAD program, I am a trained public speaker, active listener, critical thinker, able to deliver an elevator pitch and do interviews effectively. I was able to assist my colleagues in different areas such as email writing and internship application, which all worked out successfully.
‘With the help of SMART goals, prioritization, time management, teamwork, communication, and respect for ground norms, my days go smoothly. I also learned other skills that helped me while presenting my school project to the school panel. I have grown to know online tools such as Google Docs, google sheet, which help through online job hunting, and ease team collaboration.’ Reflects Jeanine Niyonkuru