Work-study gives students easy landing after school

Monday July 8 2019

Victoria Owokutangaza, Makerere University.

Victoria Owokutangaza, Makerere University. Courtesy photo 

By Desire Mbabaali

Often we hear jokes about employers asking job seekers for experience and fresh graduates wondering where they would have got it from if they were not employed in the first place. But what students forget is that one can study as they work and gain the much needed experience. Although your job may not be in line with your field of study, it may go a long way in teaching you some skills such as communication, entrepreneurship, creativity which are necessary for one to succeed at any job.

Selling hot dogs

While in my second year, I started selling hot dogs. This is because I saw an opportunity to make money. Foods such as hotdogs were not available at Nkozi yet students of course enjoy them. So I make them and sell them after class or during my break time because hot dogs are not easy to make. But even them, my business does not interfere with my studies because I have a partner who can be there when I am not. I got my pocket money of Shs100,000 to start the business. Sometimes, we cook from my room or my partner’s room and then deliver to customers who place their orders by phone.
I have juggled work and school by scheduling when to sell and when to read but balancing has been a big challenge. Many times we skip lunch to deliver the orders.

We also receive stock late because the ingredients comes from Kampala. Nonetheless, we have learned how to work hard, save but also earn money which helps us during the semester. I plan to set up a restaurant in future and continue with the business in a bigger way. It is wise for a student to do something to earn money because it teaches them the value of hard work and also prepares them for the world after school. During holidays, I run a clothing business and I am also planning to start a delivery business as well as expand my career as a model.
Joanita Anena, Uganda Martyrs University

Hair and makeup artist

I have a mobile salon that specialises in bridal hair and makeup. I started this business in my second year. I spent the first year growing in my skill as a makeup artist. I started the business mainly because I am very passionate about it and I have never been the kind to keep my passion waiting. I have grown up doing other things aside from school such as singing as part of a band called Musical Solace. With this going on in my life, I have always known I can excel at whatever I am passionate about. The first money I ever invested into the business was a loan of Shs700,000 I got with a friend of mine. We used it to buy the makeup we needed in our starter kit and a few hair accessories. Our first gig was the Gayaza High School leaver’s party where we styled students’ hair and make them up. We got enough money to pay off the loan. After that, friends started giving me small gigs and slowly, I started getting more jobs.

When it comes to juggling work and school, one of the principles I have learnt is to balance my time and prioritise. I always create time to read, market my business and meet clients. Good enough, most of the jobs are at the weekend and so I am able to do them without the worry of missing lectures. But working as you study is challenging of course. Sometimes I have a hectic weekend and then start the week when I am tired. Also, sometimes I miss a jobs because I am unavailable due to school; for example if I have tests or exams. But as continue to do this, my confidence and self-esteem have grown. I am able to make some money at university and take care of my weekly upkeep and other necessities. I plan to continue with this after school and expand this bridal salon and give every bride an experience of a lifetime because it is my dream. I strongly believe that every student must do something however small to earn something because you not only exercise your skills but also gain experience in managing finances and making a living.
Victoria Owokutangaza, Makerere University

Mathematics teacher

I actually do two jobs; teach Mathematics at Najjera High School and work in a family workshop that makes sweaters and uniforms at Najjera. I started teaching immediately after Senior Six since I am good at mathematics but started working in the family business while in Senior Four vacation. I got the idea of teaching from my former teacher but my mother inspired me to join the family business because it is a profitable business. I work despite being a student because there are some essential items I really need in life and cannot ask my parents for them such as airtime, money for fun or to buy gadgets. Working while studying a Bachelors of Biomedical Engineering is really challenging and a sacrifice. To manage, I schedule myself.

Some of the challenges I face are mostly at university where I sometimes have to attend to all the university programmes irrespective of the other business plans I may have. Things such as course work, discussions, and impromptu lectures have to be attended. More than buy myself what I need, working prevents me from being idle which may lead me to behave poorly. Every minute I have is precious, so I do not waste it. When I complete school, I will continue in the family business, because I want to inspire my youngest siblings, but might stop teaching to dedicate more time to it.
Pius Mukwaya Kabanda, Makerere University

Supplies tree seedlings

I supply tree seedlings. I started this in 2017, after I borrowed the idea from a friend who was in that business. I supply a variety of tree species such as Eucalyptus, Maesopsis (muvule), Grevellia, Pine, Mahogany, Tectona and many fruit trees. I make deliveries to those who want. That friend of mine introduced me to many farmers who grow those seedlings. When I have customers who want trees, I get them the seedlings from farmers, sell and pay them after I have sold.
Even when I get Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, I will not search for jobs, because even with the current one, I apply my accounting and finance skills. I am gaining this experience in managing the supply chain.

And since my business is to do with the environment, it has given me that cautiousness and desire to boost the environment at a time a lot of deforestation is going on. It is very important, especially at a high level of learning to try and work so that you do not just depend on one source for money; parents for example. Even parents can have financial challenges but if you balance your time well, and handle academics as well as work, it can give a big boost even in financing your tuition. In addition, you get exposure and experience of how the world of work moves. This even gives you a smooth transition from school to work.
Lauben Ssenyonjo, Uganda Christian University, Mukono

Clearing and forwarding

I started doing clearing, forwarding imports and exports, cargo handling and logistics when I was in Senior Six vacation. The idea to get this job was driven by my belief in independence and passion to learn how to make money. Even when I joined university for a Bachelor’s of Business Administration, I chose to continue working because I need to be able to take care of myself and take care of my needs and those of the ones I love. For me, this is a form of preparation for the near future. But things are not always easy. I have to set my schedule ahead of time such that I work during the day and study in the evening.

The major challenge is balancing the two. Sometimes, work can consume a bit of extra time off my lectures. However, since I am doing a business course, most of the things we study are related to the work I do which makes it easy for me to understand what is being taught or required of me. After the degree I will not search for a job elsewhere because I have acquired skills and I have the willingness to proceed with my current work. Working helps provide students with applicable skills in the practical world after school.
John Melvin Ariho, Makerere University Business School

Makeup artist

I have a makeup business - Shanana Makeup by Jojo - which I started while in second year to make some extra money, but also, I loved doing makeup and wanted to turn my passion into a business.
Artists such as Mona Faces inspired me to join this business. I did not have capital at first so I would rent kits from friends who had them. Then I started saving up from the gigs I did and finally bought my own kit. Though sometimes, the makeup gigs come at the same time with lectures in Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration classes and I forego one. I am able to get extra money and do not have to disturb my parents because I can meet my bills.

I am also glad that the business has grown and the income is even higher than for some people with white collar jobs. About working as a student, it can go either way; good or bad. One needs to have self-drive to study otherwise they might get caught up in the hustle and fail at their studies. But it is good also because you support your parents and yourself financially.
Marjorie Asiimwe Kiconco, Uganda Christian University

Mobile money

I own a Mobile Money business in Kampala with my cousin. I started this in my Senior Six vacation because I had an uncle who had experience in this, so he trained me.
I do this while at university where I am a third year Computer science student and at the weekend, in Kampala where we have a kiosk located at Buxton Street. To start, I took a loan of Shs500,000 for capital.
When you are at university, it is possible to find time, you just need to see what to use it for. That is how I have managed to do this, because I am in class during the week. Good enough, we do not have weekend classes.

One of the challenges is the limited capital. Money goes in and out of the business, but over time, I have learned to work with what I have. The plan is to continue doing this even after university, in addition to joining a clearing and forwarding business.
Even if you are from a well-to-do family, you need this money and experience, so students have to think about working.
Agaba Reagan, Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi



Leona Arinda, Makerere University

Leona Arinda, Makerere University

Selling shoes

I was selling shoes. I have started doing it now in the first semester of my third year in Bachelors of Information Technology course. I started selling shoes because I wanted to earn a living on my own and be able to expand it after university. Business has always been something I wanted to venture into so I decided to start small by selling shoes.

I got the capital of Shs220,000 from my savings. I deal in new shoes for women. The challenges I face is that some people take shoes and do not pay you and since you are young, they overlook you. Other than that, I obviously earn my own money so I get to decide to save and spend. This opened up my mind to the real world. I was able to gain experience and have something in my pocket to sustain me.
Leona Arinda, Makerere University

Photographer

When I had just joined university, I became friends with some photographers. Through our friendship, I started developing the need to be like them. I was doing badly financially, I could not afford food or notes, but as we interacted, I started learning small things about the camera and photography; such as taking passport photos. I then started learning about posters and photographs. Today, despite being a student of Bachelor of Arts in Economics, I do photography.
I make sure I attend lectures from the morning up to 4pm and then go to work in my friend’s studio, or if we have a gig outside. The fact that I work in the evenings reduces the salary I receive.

During exams, I always request for leave to concentrate on my academics. The challenge I face is that sometimes I return late from work yet the next day I have to be in class. Today, I am able to have money for upkeep, resources such as computer, I am able to pay my rent and solve most of my needs. I have also been able to start another business such as a chips stall in Kalerwe market. I also own a camera and yet to start a studio with my colleague.
Willy Bamutegereire, Makerere University

Chauffer

I have a makeup business - Shanana Makeup by Jojo - which I started while in second year to make some extra money, but also, I loved doing makeup and wanted to turn my passion into a business.
Artists such as Mona Faces inspired me to join this business. I did not have capital at first so I would rent kits from friends who had them. Then I started saving up from the gigs I did and finally bought my own kit. Though sometimes, the makeup gigs come at the same time with lectures in Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration classes and I forego one.

I am able to get extra money and do not have to disturb my parents because I can meet my bills. I am also glad that the business has grown and the income is even higher than for some people with white collar jobs. About working as a student, it can go either way; good or bad. One needs to have self-drive to study otherwise they might get caught up in the hustle and fail at their studies. But it is good also because you support your parents and yourself financially.
Marjorie Asiimwe Kiconco, Uganda Christian University

dmbabaali@ug.nationmedia.com

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