The Apprentice


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Graduating university students in Kazakhstan. Photo: Maxim Zolotukhin / The World Bank

Just to be clear, this is not about the American TV show formerly hosted by President-elect Donald Trump and recently taken over by actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is about apprenticeships in the real world.

Being an apprentice is a great way to enter the job market, especially if you are just out of school and unsure what the future holds. For employers, an apprenticeship program is a relatively low-cost and low-risk option to discover talent and establish a pipeline of future employees.

So, why is there not a booming apprenticeship industry? The challenge is often the lack of a reliable marketplace for matching demand and supply. Several start-ups are aiming to fill that gap.

GetMyFirstJob does exactly that in the United Kingdom. This online tool helps job seekers identify and explore apprenticeship and training opportunities based on their skills and interests. Potential candidates are then matched with partnering employers, colleges and training providers.

Fuzu — Swahili for "successful" — is a Kenyan-Finnish employment platform that aims to bring the best of Finland’s education and innovation systems to job seekers in Africa. Their motto is, “Dream. Grow. Be Found.” Fuzu works with a diverse range of partners, such as M-Kopa and Equity Bank, to provide job seekers with career opportunities and insights on the job market. Employers have at their disposal an effective recruitment system and pay-for-performance solutions. In a short time, Fuzu has established a community of more than 180,000 users and more than 100 companies.

Last week, Andela received the U.S. Secretary of State’s Corporate Excellence Award for SMEs. The U.S. Executive Director of the World Bank Group is hosting a “brown-bag lunch” discussion with their CEO this Wednesday at the Bank's headquarters.

The premise of the company is that brilliance is evenly distributed; opportunity is not. Backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — yes, that Zuckerberg! — Google Ventures, and Spark Capital, Andela is aiming to connect the brightest software-development talent from Africa with top employers around the world, such as Microsoft and IBM. Andela selects the top 1 percent of African talent through a rigorous process — it’s more difficult to get selected for Andela than for Harvard — and, guess what, they pay for these folks to be trained. 

Our efforts to support skills development and entrepreneurship can benefit tremendously from the experience of these innovative efforts to reach young people everywhere.

This Wednesday, January 11, Jeremy Johnson, the co-founder and CEO of Andela, will give a presentation at World Bank Group headquarters, Room MC 13-400, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Guests from outside the Bank should contact Anna Marie Croom to RSVP and arrange for a visitor pass.



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