April 1st 2016 will forever be remembered by many as they experienced their first ever career day in the University of Buea. As early as 7am, representatives from various companies began to arrive to set up their respective stands on the career fair grounds around Amphi 750 of the university. Better Breed Cameroon members and volunteers were there to assist them while polishing up final organizational details. By 8.30am, while there was a lot off buzz at the fair, curious students and invited guests and speakers began to fill academic hall after stopping by the registration desk. 10.00am signaled the commencement of the ceremony, opened and managed by the very able MC – Kathleen Ndongmo. The founder and Coordinator of Better Breed Cameroon, Monique Kwachou welcomed participants and explained the raison d’etre of the Career Day, encouraging them to make the most of it. This ushered in the first phase of panel presentations beginning with Mr. Roland Kwemain, Chairman of Go Ahead Africa, who encouraged young people to believe in themselves and be patient. Next came Mambe Churchill of Njorku who encouraged students to use online educational platforms like Coursera, Udacity, and Skademy to gain extra skills not taught in class, these skills differentiate and attract jobs. A fine mixture of speakers including Dr Ashu Agbor of Gifted Mom, and of course the MTN Cameroon team, thrilled the audience with career and job expectations and readiness. Then it was time for coffee break, during which time students trooped to the numerous stands at the career fair, familiarizing themselves with Cameroonian success stories like Njorku, Teach Connect, Ovamba, Gifted Mom, and to multinationals like ACCA, Ecobank, UBA and MTN.
The second phase kicked off with a new panel of representatives from corporate institutions like British American Tobacco, British High Commission, UBA, Ecobank, ACCA and Ovamba. These corporate high fliers took a personal perspective to explain how they landed in their current jobs, inspiring the audience to realize that career success is possible. They explained vividly what it takes to get and maintain a great job in their institutions and of course anywhere else.
The 3rd panel was filled with entrepreneurs who had started their own companies and were somewhat living the Cameroonian dream. These included the likes of Budi Norbert of Diamond Visions and Afrique Digital, Adeline Sede of FabAfrique, Christian Ngan of Madlyn Cazalis, Yefon Mainsah of IRepCamer, and a host of others. These strong men and women shared their personal entrepreneurship journeys of how they founded and grew their companies, in a bid to give the young audience insight into what it takes to start and grow a viable business. Their words were very inspiring, one could take home adages like:
In addition to these, various opportunities were presented throughout the forum; the British High Commission presented the Chevening and Cameroon Women Scholarships, Ovamba presented funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, and Mr. Bonie Fon of Bonaventures presented plans to launch an investment club in the University of Buea with a pledge of 1 million Francs for capitalizing student entrepreneurs. The 3rd panel was the last for the day and by 3pm, the young audience was released to yet another surprise: mock interviews and CV scrutiny, critiques and adjustments provided by Better Breed Cameroon free of charge.
The invited guests were treated to lunch from whence they took their leave.
The first edition of the Cameroon Career Day was a remarkable success despite numerous challenges. Better Breed Cameroon sincerely thanks all individuals and organizations that made Career Day a huge success, and looks forward to a bigger and better one next year. We hope to see you there!
by Brian Tamungang for Better Breed Cameroon
Head on over to Better Breed Cameroon’s YouTube page to watch videos from this phenomenal event!