Completing University education is no mean feat as everyone have their own shared experiences how they managed to beat all odds to end up in those colorful gowns at the time of graduation. To some, finishing University brings out memoirs of one’s academic trajectory and in the current circumstances would relate to actualization of the popular phrase “tuliyambalaengule” literally translated as being crowned after a tough struggle. Therefore, to all graduands, congratulations are in order however, don’t limit that degree to only securing a formal job because that might take forever to happen.
Today, there are so many redundant degrees laying on the streets waiting for formal employment because our mentality still reigns that for all intents and purposes, a University degree must translate into a well-paying job in a certain Ministry, NGO or Government parastatal, to mention but a few.
Whereas that might be subjected to some truths in it, we need to support graduands to unlearn and change their mindsets that that hard-earned degree is meant to unlock one’s potential to critically think or expound on their knowledge, abilities and talents however is not necessarily limited to a formal job. It’s because of the above dilemma that we are witnesses to the increased levels of frustration among unemployed graduates who would rather seat for years until that six salaried job miraculously shows up to their comfort.
Graduands need to discard the formal job mentality and explore alternative avenues at their disposal in order to guarantee self-sustenance. It is therefore duly upon society to support graduands into realization that it is still possible to forge a way outside that wishful formal job which might not be available unless the President lives by his fat”joke” of sacking 10,000 civil servants and replace them in a day.
If one chooses to chase that formal job within their reach, well it may require some bit of perseverance and openness to learning because chances are high to find a completely new set of values and knowledge to equip yourself with, beyond the theorized classroom techniques. It’s of no harm to start as a volunteer or at apprenticeship level so that you are better exposed to new skills and way of doing things. I beg your degree should not bar you from taking up such opportunities once they accidentally cross your path while trying to search for that good job in tandem with your academic qualifications.
I would also advise that if that formal job fails to present itself yet there are available resources please think innovatively and turn that into opportunity. You never know that if you started building on your small ideas, you could in the near future become one of those top most CEOs at the helm of some private ICT companies, local food chains, NGOs, you can add on this list depending where are your interests fall. If I may borrow from two case examples, more so local ones, I hope every graduand seated waiting for that elusive formal job can get inspired.
Many of us, know Robert Kabushenga, the CEO of Vision Group. Unknown to many, he graduated with a Bachelors of Laws degree (LLB) from Makerere University and later a Post Graduate Diploma from Law Development Centre. Without doubt, Robert is one of the smartest CEOs who despite his academic accomplishment, much as he proudly remarks that he graduated with a pass degree, was able to transform himself from Newspaper vending to where he is now.
Another example that I find worthy resonating with my argument is that of a young nascent entrepreneur known as Dalausi Lutale, the proprietor of “Dalausi Juice,” whose juice business has enjoyed monopoly at numerous functions and turned out as a successful venture. Dalausi is a University graduate however that didn’t stop him from doing something of his passion.
The bottom line is that not every graduand should be a Robert or Dalausi of sorts, one just needs to think innovatively or raise their dreams a tad higher, to survive especially where search for that formal job is taking longer than anticipated. Building on your small idea could eventually turn out to be the source of that formal job many graduates are despising.
The writer is a Commonwealth Correspondent in Uganda