Updated: Mar 8, 2021
When I joined Inspire Africa, I was already aware of plans for a capstone program. It was one of the major projects that the internship group was to work on and, as part of the interview process, I had to carry out a team-based discussion on the best strategies of deploying this program.
To be honest, that was the first time I had heard the term “capstone project”. Maybe i had come across it before but it didn’t stick. I was happy to find out that many of my peers didn’t know what it was too. I think what that shows is a deficiency in our education system.
A quick google search will tell you that a capstone project is usually a culminating college/university experience designed to enhance a recent graduate’s (or near-graduate) job readiness. It could be an Internship, but it normally entails other aspects of experiential learning that Internships might not offer.
If our learning institutions adopted the best training methods then all my peers, and myself, would be familiar with the term. Maybe it is a simple deduction, but the evidence is there that most recent graduates simply aren’t job ready and employers often complain about it.
As Tutu Eradiri, a mentor on the LIFT program told fellows during our orientation session...
graduates will be screaming “There are no jobs!”, while employers will be shouting “ there are no (competent) graduates”.
In many businesses, opportunities are there but only for the right, competent personnel.
That is the idea behind LIFT. It is a bridge for this divide between graduates and employers, perhaps the best because you are not thrown in the deep end to swim with the sharks.
Rather, you are given sufficient time to accustom to your role and learn the different etiquettes in the professional world, guided by experienced mentors in solving real problems in real situations. What’s more, you will have the direct links to employers. For a recent graduate, there are a few better ways to prepare yourself for life after school.
This is why I feel LIFT could not have come at a better time in my professional development. Even though I'm part of the team behind the program, I feel I am also a fellow (I have taken the applied digital skills course on project management), albeit in a different way of course. I will still look to take advantage of this opportunity as I watch the progress of our first cohort over the next 8 weeks.
I would also encourage Inspire Africa’s alumni network to find out more about the LIFT capstone program and be on the lookout for the next intake dates. Having been involved in its conception, I understand the intended benefits it would bring to my peers and my hope is that all of you will be able take advantage of it.
Congratulations to our fellows and all the best!
*Contributed by Cynthia Mene- CEO Inspire Africa, and David Makoni- Communications & Digital Media Lead