By Mark Kawalya
Two Cavendish University undergraduate students, Natasha Katondwaki and Collins Mbulakyalo, have designed a solution that is meant to slash unemployment rates in the country. The computer science students have built a digital platform that connects skilled youth to companies and individuals looking to hire skilled talent.
Waape, which was founded by Collins and Natasha, has developed an algorithm that selects and objectively matches skilled talent on the platform using dynamics like accountability, communication ability, commitment, and learning ability to opportunities. This is a move away from the conventional method of using qualifications as the sole determinant for getting a job.
“Sometimes getting a job today is about who you know and how connected you are as a person, but not everyone is connected or has three years of work experience. We, therefore, wanted to cater to people who have continuously failed to land jobs or find means of earning a living.” Says Collins.
Users submit their applications to the Waape team, which are entered into the system. The job-matching platform then determines the right opportunities that best suit the applicants. Getting hired is determined by the available positions for that category of work at the given time of application or future available slots that come up.
Statistics from the National Planning Authority show that more than 700,000 students graduate each year, yet only 90,000 of these can be assimilated into the work environment. This realizes a deficit of 87% of students who are skilled yet unable to find work in an economy not unlike many in Africa, that is highly dependent on having a source of income for survival.
Waape, on the other hand, benefits not only job seekers but also businesses looking to hire skilled workers. The hiring process in many Ugandan companies can be quite cumbersome as many advertised jobs are severely oversubscribed due to the high levels of unemployment. A company looking to hire five people may receive up to one hundred applications, putting a strain on the human resources department, which must carefully review each one. Waape enables employers to quickly determine available skilled users on the platform that would be suitable for available positions in a much more efficient manner.