How Ghana's SFAN is solving Africa's youth unemployment crisis

Ghana-based youth education social enterprise, Stars From All Nations (SFAN), established ReadyforWork to address Africa's unemployment crisis.

How Ghana's SFAN is solving Africa's youth unemployment crisis
Tom-Chris Emewulu, President and Founder of SF

According to a recent UNICEF report, approximately 3 in 4 youth lack skills needed for employment, and a similar report by AfDB notes that one in three youths think their education does not focus enough on skills required in the workplace and are looking to governments, employers, and education providers to bridge the skills gap.

Ghana-based youth education social enterprise, Stars From All Nations (SFAN), established ReadyforWork to address these challenges by leveraging self-paced, industry-driven learning modules that equip job seekers and young professionals with relevant digital skills. It also connects them to job opportunities in high-growth firms.

Stars For All Nations began its operation as a campus club in a little classroom at Radford University, Ghana, in late 2013. Tom-Chris Emewulu, the President and Founder of SFAN, was in his second year of a B.Sc. degree when he read a report stating that of all 66,000 students who graduate in the country, only 3% could find formal employment within one year.

With a desire to change the narrative and armed with his experience of building a thriving retail business in Nigeria before moving to Ghana for the accounting degree, he invited his friends to join forces with him in bridging education and employment to empower.

Emewulu noted that despite tremendous improvements in Africa’s economic activities, the challenge lies in integrating young people into the workforce. There is a big disconnect because even as Africa’s economy expands and domestic demand increases, youth employment has not.

Hence, they established SFAN with the precise vision of raising the next generation of African leaders. SFAN was a solution to a need for an Africa-focused, globally-minded social enterprise that helps young people to discover themselves and act as catalysts to inspire others to live their lives on their terms.

The team started their work of plugging the education to employment gap with a career fair held in 2015, which was the first ever career fair in Ghana by a student-founded organization outside of AIESEC.

Subsequently, they initiated a business breakfast meeting series to bring corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and job seekers into the same room to spark meaningful conversations. As they embarked on this journey, they uncovered a much broader challenge: Youth unemployment is a significant challenge in Ghana and the entire continent.

According to SFAN President, “even though the career fairs were impactful, I felt there was a need for more. The shelf-life of impact wasn’t quite as exciting when folks left the room. When the event is ongoing, people want to change their life, but down the line, when they go home, you don’t get to see the results in their lives.”

This birthed the ReadyforWork career accelerator in 2016. ReadyforWork is an immersive digital career accelerator that uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to equip job seekers with in-demand digital skills such as UX/UI, Finance, Digital Marketing, Software Engineering, and Data Science.

The program is currently structured as a hybrid where pre-selected job seekers and early-stage professionals participate in an intensive six-weeks bootcamp on the ReadyforWork platform and SFAN's digital classroom at Spintex, Accra. After this project-based learning and coaching period, SFAN connects these fellows to job sources.

ReadyforWork has been running actively since 2018, and the impact has been massive. SFAN raised a pre-seed investment of $250,000 from Ghana-based investor King Solomon’s Group in 2021 to develop the digital platform and scale its operation. The program’s success-based pricing model means that candidates get all the enormous benefits of future-proofing their careers with a curriculum that actually works at $0 upfront tuition fees.

ReadyforWork alum Kezia O. Owusu-Ankomah says: "I wish I was 18 when I saw ReadyforWork digital career accelerator. I've been in the media and arts industry for 12 years. And I developed a new interest in digital marketing. The best platform I found was ReadyforWork. I learned to believe in myself. I also learned how to use design thinking to drive innovation and essential social media marketing skills to drive sales, enhance audience engagement and build a community around a brand. If you are a young person looking to develop a new set of skills or want to complement your degree or practice, I recommend ReadyforWork digital career accelerator.”

ReadyforWork is currently accepting applications for its 5th cohort in Financial Analysis, User Experience/User Interface Design, Digital Marketing, Software Engineering, and Data Science. Candidates that wish to join the cohort must send in their application before September 15.