08 Mar Huda Ibrahim is Actualizing Her Career Aspirations, Thanks to SFAN’s ReadyforWork Program
Editor’s Note: Youth unemployment was already a massive challenge for many African countries before Sars-Cov-2 came around. Go ahead and Google it. The numbers will make your brain hurt. Research by different organizations shows that in Africa, young people account for 60% of all joblessness. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), about 10-12mn youth enter the African job market annually, but the Continent creates only 3.7mn jobs. Cognizant of this significant imbalance, we began piloting the ReadyForWork.Africa program two years ago to help young people live on their terms and, in turn, act as catalysts to inspire others to unlock their potentials. Huda Ibrahim was among the participants in that pilot program. And in celebration of International Women’s Day and Ghana’s Independence, we caught up with her to follow up on her career journey.
Tell our readers about yourself and your job search experience before joining Readyforwork Career Coaching Program.
My name is Huda Ibrahim, a 24-year-old lady who lives in Techiman, Ghana. I joined the ReadyForWork program shortly after my National Service at the EPA Head Office in Accra. The aim was to gain skills that would help me excel in any career path I choose. Before joining the program, I had applied to some companies for an internship or full-time job, because I was about to end my service and needed a job. But I didn’t get a call from those applications as yet. And although I had some idea of the type of job I wanted, I wasn’t sure what career path to choose. So I needed guidance from the ReadyForWork program to define my career path.
What impact did the ReadyForWork Career Coaching program have on you?
ReadyForWork made an immense impact on me. From strategies on developing critical thinking skills and other job-readiness skills to starting and running a blog, it was amazing! We had various sessions with trainers from Ghana and Europe. The session on work-life balance with Jamila Meischke was impactful, and I also had a one-on-one chat with Tracy Kyei of Samsung Ghana.
After the training, I started to learn more about running a blog, and I applied a lot of what I learned in my next job. I took a step further to read more about critical thinking and creative problem solving, and I have improved tremendously in those areas. Also, I have been able to upgrade my resume with the knowledge gained from the training, which contributed to my present job as the Assistant Program Officer with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Techiman.
What have been your major challenges and achievements in your current position?
As I mentioned earlier, I currently work as an Assistant Program Officer with the Environmental Protection Agency in Techiman. I started this role in the 3rd week of December 2020 after working with cedijob, a startup that helps businesses hire freelancers, artisans, handymen, and professional service workers. When I joined cedijob, they had just started — without formal structures and systems, such as keeping standard accounting information. Although I didn’t have any accounting background, I took some online courses and used that knowledge to help them create a decent accounting system. I also helped them develop their content plan before the team hired someone to handle that responsibility. More so, I helped them develop a back office that works with non-tech-savvy artisans. Overall, I’d say that I helped the team stay focused on their mission within the 11 months of my work with them.
My current role at EPA involves the followings:
- Performing environmental assessments on proposed projects.
- Monitoring the level of environmental compliance of individual businesses and establishments.
- Conducting ecological education, among others.
My biggest challenge so far has to do with conducting environmental education fluently in Twi. Although I speak fluent Twi and understand the language correctly, I’m not very good with the technical terms relating to my work. So that’s an area I work on improving my abilities. The other challenge has to do with effectively performing compliance activities and knowing when someone is violating an environmental condition. But I mitigate that challenge by increasingly getting more exposure and job experience.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and where do you see yourself in the next five years?
My motivation comes from knowing that I’ll have an opportunity to make a difference through my work. In terms of where I see myself in the next five years, I have four primary goals as follows:
- I see myself completing a Master’s Degree program and possibly planning a second Master’s outside Ghana.
- Financially, I aim to be earning more than 10,000 Ghana Cedis monthly income through either my job or multiple sources.
- If I am still with the EPA then, I should be promoted to a Program Officer and put in a situation where I can impact the organization much more. But if I’m not with the EPA at that time, then I’d love to work with the AfDB. I also have plans to learn an international language. That is French, for a start.
- Of course, I wish to be married, find fulfillment in how I spend my time and make a significant difference in Ghana.
SFAN is on a mission to help Africa’s youth unlock their potentials and launch fulfilling careers in high-growth companies. Huda Ibrahim is one of the numerous young people who leveraged our platform and network to find direction and secure gainful employment. If you want to support our work, kindly reach out to us here. To learn more about ReadyForWork or sign up for the program, please visit the program website here. Thank you for reading this interview and kindly share it to inspire others!
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