New Initiative to Prepare University Graduates for Workplace

ADDIS ABEBA – A new initiative is set to help prepare fresh university graduates in Ethiopia for the workplace.

The U.S. aid agency or USAID, Save the Children and Ministry of Science and Higher Education, launched the initiative on Monday.

USAID has invested $2 million in the project, Building the Potential of Youth Activity (POTENTIAL), which will give institutional capacity development support to Ethiopian higher education institutions.

Save the Children, on the other hand, has been tasked to implement the five-year project, which will address some of the existing gaps between the skillsets of university students and the demands of the job market they will face after graduation.

The US embassy in Addis Ababa said in a statement the initiative will partner with Bahir Dar, Hawassa, Jigjiga, Jimma, Mekelle and Semera universities to equip graduates with the skills necessary to pursue and land appropriate job opportunities.

The capacity building will focus on high-order thinking skills, positive self-concepts, self-control and social skills to strengthen graduates’ employability, the statement reads.

The activity will facilitate learning exchanges between universities at the national level as well as cross (inter) institutional peer exchanges while also developing a digital platform to link employers with educational institutes.

The six partner universities will, in turn, create partnerships with Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions (TVET) in their geographic regions to address skills mismatches, improve graduates’ employability and create partnerships with the private sector and potential employers.

Brandeis University from Massachusetts, USA, will provide technical support during the implementation of this initiative in partnership with Save the Children.

At the launch, Sonjai Reynolds-Cooper, Director of USAID’s Education and Youth office, said the initiative “will support Ethiopia’s Journey to self-reliance in line with the country’s education system reforms”.

The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia and has invested more than $3.5 billion in development and humanitarian assistance over the past five years to help people across the country lead healthier and more prosperous lives.

The United States has long been one of the leading investors in Ethiopia’s education system and works with a range of partners to support the educational achievement of 15 million Ethiopian children.