Build work experiences through volunteerism – Students challenged

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Education Deb Foundation Seminar
Education Deb Foundation Seminar

Speakers at the second in the series of enrichment seminars by the Dora Edu-Buandoh (DEB) Foundation have urged tertiary students to build work experiences through volunteerism to enhance their chances of employment and success in business.

They observed that fresh graduates mostly lacked experience, leaving them in the situation of ‘experience before employment’, making them “veteran job seekers”.

They indicated that volunteerism through avenues like internships, leadership and social support, exposed students to new skills, experiences and competences, which gave them competitive edge over their peers.

The second edition of the DEB Foundation 2023 Young People’s Seminar was organised for level 300 and 400 students at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) with more than 150 participants.

The meeting held on the theme: “Build Your Today for Your Future” was in line with the Foundation’s coaching and mentorship programme for female students to help build their confidence and capacity to be leaders.

Mr Atoni Akugiri Lamisi, Head of Strategic Business Processing (SBP), Africa Group, an HR Service Provider, noted that employers were no longer interested in certificates and CVs but experience.

“When you get to the corporate level, there are a number of things that will be required of you. Some may be out of your job description.

“You can have first class but if you cannot deliver, you are out. We look out for the volunteerism spirit,” he advised.

Stressing the need for students to offer themselves as volunteers, Mr Lamisi explained the years of volunteerism all counted as experience which made them serviceable.

“Organisations may tell you they do not have space but when you offer yourself as a volunteer, it may take just one week for them to get back to you,” he said.

He stated that they needed to equip themselves with skills that were not academic, urging them to do self-auditing to know their strengths and weaknesses.

Ms Grace Abban-Ampiah, a lecturer with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, said volunteerism was rewarding and so students must be available to offer some skills to society for free.

She observed that many people shied away from volunteerism for lack of courage, time, or experience of ingratitude.
But she insisted that the gesture was non-negotiable because it gave a sense of achievement and purpose, improved confidence, and self-esteem, taught new skills and helped to build a career.

“Volunteerism gives economic benefits. When more people volunteer, it reduces the cost for government and society. You need to have something to offer, and it must align with your goals,” she said.

Dr Irene Kafui Vorsah Amponsah, a lecturer at the Department of Statistics, UCC, admonished the ladies to build the skill of effective communication, a valuable social capital.

She said to be consummate ladies, they needed be well-mannered, learn to speak eloquently, respect people and themselves.

She also advised them to build their social skills such as being empathic, responsible, dependable, patient, and tolerant, while they worked to turn the weaknesses into strengths.

Dr Amponsah went on to advise them to have proper time management without which she cautioned; they might fail at their endeavours.

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