The Botswana Youth Jobs Fair 2017 in review (Day 1)

In an effort to radically shift the culture of employment in Botswana, Safayah Designs, Focus Surveys Botswana, 89 Fifty Communications, Career Coaching, Botswana Youth Jobs for Graduates and us, The Afrolutionist decided to collaborate to physical and virtually house unemployed youth to share available resources to boost their soft skills, enhancing their job readiness while we bring employers looking for job seekers. This is a first for the country, and a birth of a new culture where attitudes between unemployed youth and the corporate industries can potentially be shifted. Journey with us through our Afrolutionist Kevin Mofokeng’s take on the first day of this remarkable event.


The much anticipated 2nd annual Botswana Youth Jobs Fair kicked off this morning under the theme ‘Driving the youth towards sustainable employment’. The mandate of the fair is to equip the unemployed youth with the necessary knowledge from career guidance, presentations, entrepreneurial talks and opportunities for potential job placement.

Today the fair focused more on helping unemployed youth on how to be job ready. The program comprised of CV writing skills, interview skills and the recruitment process.

On his opening speech of the 2nd annual Botswana Youth Jobs Fair, the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Honourable Carlos Kalaote acknowledged the fact that unemployment is an issue severely affecting the youth of Botswana, “According to the World Bank, unemployment rate in Botswana has increased from 17% in 2010 to 20% in 2013. And by 2016 it stood at 33.2% in 2016” he highlighted.

Hon. Kalaote assured the youth that the Government is working tirelessly to make sure that they curb youth unemployment with various interventions such as empowering students prior to graduating with entrepreneurial skills so that before they leave school they know which niche areas in the market they are going to exploit to become employers rather than employees. Furthermore, he acknowledged that our current education system is designed to make us workers rather than entrepreneurs and employers and assured that there will be change in our education system “As a ministry we will be introducing a very strong business enterprise element in all our vocational training curricula. We want an education system that will produce entrepreneurs and job creators”.

Adding more onto how young people can better themselves and fight unemployment he urged the youth to make use of initiatives around that are provided by both Government and Banks, “young people stand a better chance for sourcing funding and investment from various entities such as banks, investment funds and government programs such as CEDA”. He ended off by encouraging the youth to serve as active citizens in solving various issues in our country, as through such unified actions, we can positively build our nation.

The end of the opening ceremony led path to the beginning of the job readiness training sessions. The first training session was kicked off by Kago Maroba, a delegate from Barclays Bank of Botswana’s Ready To Work program.  Maroba took us through the art of writing an effective CV with context to the country’s corporate etiquette.

“We are all aware that having a CV is very critical especially if you want to be employed, but most people tend to make mistakes when writing up one’’ highlighted Maroba. A CV should be seen as a tool used to sell yourself to your potential employer. Maroba went through points to consider when writing a CV:

  • English; it should be in The Queen’s language, without any grammatical errors
  • It should be short and sweet; try to summarize all your background information and qualifications
  • It should be typed and not hand written; this makes it look more professional
  • Start off with a bang; remember you are selling yourself here, try to captivate the person who is going to be assessing your CV
  • Contact details; this includes your mobile and/or telephone numbers, email, residential and postal addresses
  • Education details; this includes all your education background, certificates and/or awards you possess
  • Work history; this includes details of your current and/or previous work details, from position and duration to duties you undertook under the post
  • Hobbies and interests; this includes the things you like to do in your spare time. But be cautious on the type of hobbies or interests you write down, as an organization might turn you down because of the risk of tarnishing the brand
  • Hold back up documents; these include transcripts, certificates etc,

The 2nd segment of Ready To Work presentation by Barclays Bank of Botswana focused on Interview skills where Wame Mogasha facilitated this presentation. Mogasha highlighted that most people have awesome CVs but sometimes fail their interviews and end up not getting the job they applied for. She listed a few points to consider when going for an interview;

  • Always dress accordingly
  • Be sure of the location of the interview and be there at least 20 minutes earlier than the appointment
  • Make sure you have done a background research on the organization, this makes it easier to answer questions that might be posed to you by the interviewer
  • Know the difference between being confident, over confident and arrogance when answering questions
  • Know the difference between competency based questions and non-competency based questions

The 2nd session broke off with Keith from Career Pool who took us through the recruitment process. After submitting your CV, it they Human Resource (HR) office take a few steps that lead to choosing the right candidate. Firstly, they receive the CVs and put them in their current database, this is often for future references, then secondly, they shortlist candidates who are eligible for the post and call them for an interview. From there, candidates who passed the interview go through background checks; referees, criminal background checks and lastly traditional and digital media checks, social media networks of candidates are reviewed. From this rigorous process the HR officer  sends an offer letter via email or post to the desired interviewee

The third and final session of the day was a conversation aimed at birthing entrepreneurs. Facilitated by These Hands founder and Social Entrepreneur Thabiso Mashaba, the conversation was on ‘The youth employing themselves and creating employment for others’. Mashaba encouraged young people to stand up for themselves and come up with innovative ways to create employment, rather than relying on the Government to be employed. ‘Most of us have graduated from different courses, but not doing anything with the skills attained from the 3-4yrs in tertiary, we have to put what we learnt into use’ he said. He also mentioned that as the youth of Botswana we are much more focused only in getting employed in urban areas and shutting out rural areas ‘there are a lot of poverty gaps in rural areas, as the youth of Botswana we need to step up and stop relying on the government for employment opportunities’ he added.

He ended by mentioning the Quadrants of Development; Human-Human; this includes motivational talks, Human-Technology; this includes coming up with technological solutions to help solve a certain problem i.e., developing a software that can help farmers sell their produce online, Human-Environment; this includes coming up with solutions that can help better the surroundings we live in, i.e. coming up with initiatives such as cleaning the city/village.

The first day of the fair dawned on an electric note, with young people leaving the fair yet lounging in the parking area, networking with each other as well as the speakers.

Catch more of our daily updates on our social media handles @afrolutionist on Twitter, and follow Kevin’s journey throughout the fair on @yourprguy on twitter. You can find more information about The 2nd Annual Youth Jobs Fair on Facebook and Twitter.