Qualifying for Dhaka University was a dream-come-true for Shampa Rani Roy, a shy girl from the sleepy town of Rangpur. She graduated from the Faculty of Humanities with excellent grades and should have been headed for a promising career.
But reality was far from what she had planned for. “I realized I didn’t have the skills to apply for my desired job,” Shampa said.
She quickly understood that handsome academic transcripts were not enough for jobs in a highly competitive market. She needed to be better equipped at writing CVs, cover letter and smartly facing interviews.
As a member of Young Bangla, the biggest youth platform of the country, Shampa enrolled for a three-day career camp at the Sheikh Hasina National Youth Centre in Savar, near Dhaka from January 17-19, 2017.
The camp is part of the global Shikkha to Employment Program (S2EP) initiative adopted by APIT. The Department of Youth Development under the Ministry of Youth and Sports was an active overseer of the career camp. The camp was organized under the Kormoshopan Pataton program of Advancing Policy Interest Trust (APIT). It was powered by aamra Companies and supported by Young Bangla.
During the three-day residential camp, Shampa and 34 other graduates and undergrad students from various universities got first hand practical training on job search, writing cover letters, CVs and facing interviews – things that they should have been taught at their alma mater.
She was kind of lost with her career as her applications got refused repeatedly. Confidence and self-esteem were at their lowest. But her metamorphosis after attending the career camp was remarkable.
“I used the same cover letter to apply for for jobs in banks and multinational companies. Now I know they should be different. I also know the importance of having the right attitude while facing an interview,” Shampa said.
“The camp focused on developing some key skills, so that the participants, who are mostly fresh graduates, can enter the job market as competent and confident individuals,” said one of the organizers, Sabrina Islam, also member secretary of APIT.
This camp held in Savar – the fifth of its kind with the previous four held in Khulna and Jessore – is unique in the sense that it offered a key experience – facing real interviews. For a fresh university graduate or an undergrad student, nothing can be more valuable.
“[After attending the camp] now I know the importance of entering an interview room with head held high. It helps the interviewee to create a positive first impression,” said Charles Clinton Rodrigues, a final year student of merchandizing at the BGMEA Institute of Fashion and Technology (BIFT), Dhaka.
The participants had so many questions that some of the sessions overran their schedule by up to two hours. The panel of facilitators included some high-ranked senior managers from leading business groups like aamra Companies and think tanks like APIT and Young Bangla secretariat Centre for Research and Information (CRI).
At the camp, there were several sessions on organizational behavior, English at work and ICT at work. Participants worked in groups and were given ample opportunities to share their own thoughts, thus making the sessions interactive.
“The camp helped unite the members of the Young Bangla platform in achieving the ‘Connecting the Dots’ motto. Many new members join Young Bangla every time there is a Kormoshopan Pataton career camp,” said Israt Farzana Tanni, program officer at CRi.
The Sheikh Hasina National Youth Centre in Savar, where the camp was held, has separate residential facilities for boys, girls and foreign participants, dining facilities, gymnasium and a 700-seat auditorium.
Dr Biren Shikder, MP, honorable state minister for youth and sports, inaugurated the camp. Amatul Kibria Keya Chowdhury, MP, member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Youth and Sports, attended the closing ceremony as special guest and handed over certificates to the participants.