Formal training and qualifications add depth to your natural talents

Friday February 14 2020

All set. Award winning actress Leila Nakabira’s

All set. Award winning actress Leila Nakabira’s love for film forced her to go back to school to study film. Her investment has since paid off in form of nominations and awards in the industry. PHOTO BY GABRIEL BUULE.  

By Gabriel Buule

It is important for individuals to put the same rigour and strategy in acquiring as much training as they can to add value to their creativity as they would any other talent.

Career development expert and human rights advocate Milly Nassolo, notes that much as talent contributes to career development, education is not just qualifications or papers as one might suggest but a key to professionalising a career.

“With or without talent, education has to be a tool to facilitate learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits,” Nassolo relates.
Nassolo notes that despite how talented one is, they still need skills to not just manage and cultivate their inborn skills but to do much more with them.

“Education is also a way of sharing your skill with others, because talent motivates, obviously many people are inspired to learn of the skill, and an institution would be a suitable place to share talent with others and also learn more,” she adds.

Soft skills vs hard skills
Leilah Nakabira is a Quantitative Economics graduate from Makerere University who always knew her dream was to become a film maker. After her graduation, she joined the film industry but a few years later decided to go and study film in order to understand the trade better and produce better results.

Her years in the movie industry had shown her how disastrous it was for one to solely rely on their natural talent without any kind of improvement.
“The truth is that you can be the best at what you do, but if your soft skills are not cutting it, in the end you will be limiting your chances of career success” Nakabira relates.


The actress notes that unlike hard skills that are taught, each industry or sector has those soft skills that enable someone to go further than their peers.
“For instance the film industry has skills such as art or storytelling which can be proven in the end product.

If you can tell a story better than the next person, you will definitely have more advantage, but, someone who can develop a script that brings that story to life will have more advantage over you. So you need to add more to what you have to stand out,” she adds.

Need for wholistic training
Economist Richard Ssempala, a knowledge management officer for the SPEED Project at Makerere University School of Public Health, believes that most talented people in Uganda are yet to understand the need to acquire more training.

“Many musicians for example do not understand why they should go through music school. Or any other school for that matter. What they do not know is they need other skills such as general knowledge, financial management and social skills that can be acquired from school that make them better artistes,” he explains.

Ssempala opines that with a little more training or education, artistes would know how to conduct themselves better in public.

“We have seen many artists failing to manage the wealth they earn from their talents. In fact, many have gone bankrupt or live lives of disgrace. Depending on one’s interests and future plans, targeted studying can be relevant and beneficial to them,” he states.

He cites a basic theory in economics known as principal- agent theory which tries to solve the conflict in priorities between the owner of an asset and the person to whom control of the asset has been delegated. This theory if ably applied would prevent the common artist and manager or promoter clashes.

“We have often seen many artists falling out with their managers or promoters over failure to agree on compensations. This theory clearly speaks to this challenge. It spells out differences in expectations between the principal and the agent and how it can be resolved in order to reduce losses, how to set priorities and how the two (principal – artists and the agent can optimally be compensated without cheating on the other,” he explains.

Painter and sculptor Jacqueline Katesi, who is also a scholar at Kyambogo University, notes that there is a difference between having a talent and a profession but having both can lead to a great career.

She says that much as it is alright to settle for talent for a career one has to get professional as a back-up. She believes times have changed and unlike in the past it is harder for an individual to rely on talent alone given the fact that most talents have been professionalised and they are disciplines taught in high institutions of learning.

“You find that people who do not study and settle for their talents tend to limit themselves and risk their careers and perhaps fail to explore their talents effectively,” she adds.
Katesi advises that formal training prepares a talent for any situation and prepares a person for the best and worst times.

Education and talent

Education will equip you with the tools you need to create something. Starting and completing a programme also reflects you as someone with the ability to focus and accomplish a goal. Talent will allow you to use those tools to create something unique; something that will make people stop and look for a while

On the one hand, talent without an education is not good enough, it may prevent you from being able to express yourself fully.
On the other hand, being educated with no talent would result in formulaic or uninteresting work.
Those degrees and certificates can make all the difference in the world when it comes to getting the job.