Transition to Work with Eliashib

Now in its sixth month, our Transition to Work project with Eliashib Restoration Organisation in Zambia is helping graduates go from learning a trade to earning an income.

At the beginning of last year, 33 trainees graduated with trade skills from our vocational training project with Eliashib Restoration Organisation in Zambia. In October 2023, they began our follow-up project, Transition to Work.  During this 12-month project, Eliashib visit trainees at their group business premises, and run a programme of regular meetings and workshops to identify additional skills that the trainees will need to promote themselves and their businesses to potential employers and customers.

Speaking on the project launch day, Programme Manager, Evelyn Schilima explained: “Today’s meeting was about identifying the gaps in knowledge and skills that trainees may need help with. We learnt that the trainees need help in business skills and one of the areas that stood out during our discussion was the need to fill the gap in writing a business plan. This because the trainees will be applying for a business grant a couple of months hence he need for them to fully understand the concept.”

Our project is designed to respond to such needs.  In November, Eliashib hosted the first business planning workshop, distributing template documents to trainees and helping them fill in all the necessary information to complete a business plan.  In addition, a local businessman from the community was invited along to share his experiences on running a successful business for over 15 years and inspire the trainees to move forward with ther business plans.  He had some good advice to offer, encouraging the trainees to stay focused on one business and avoid starting multiple businesses while they are in the start-up phase.

Further workshops have focussed on interview skills and job training. Evelyn told us: “Our aim is to ensure that our trainees have the necessary skills to identify job opportunities, write a CV on their own and confidently attend a job interview.  When looking for employment, trainees might be asked questions about themselves and their backgrounds, and this can be difficult for people who have never experienced this type of situation before, especially not in English.  The Transition to Work project gives trainees the opportunity to regularly practice interview skills and proactively seek job training opportunities.  This will contribute to their professional growth and success in securing desirable job positions.”

December saw the trainees come together once more, to present their business plans for possible funding through a business grant.  One of the common challenges that theses groups are facing is lack of capital for their businesses, so the opportunity to obtain a business grant brought a log of excitement amongst the trainees.  A total of 6 business plans were received, evaluated and considered for funding.  Each plan represented a culmination of deep-rooted passion for creating impactful ventures.

A few days later, Eliashib visited the trainees at their business premises.  All the 6 groups were presented with a business start-up grant.  Evelyn said “This gesture delighted the trainees who could not hide their joy. The trainees pledged to put the money to good use as these resources were going to go a long way in helping them get established. The mentors pledged ongoing support, offering guidance and resources to help refine and materialize these promising ventures.”

As the regular catch-ups with trainees continue, Eliashib are delighted to report that the grants have already been put to good use. Trainees have purchased items to help them with their businesses, including sewing machines, sewing materials, welding machines, cement and other tools. We are also thrilled to learn that the trainees’ earnings have improved thanks to the acquisition of equipment and materials. Rather than having to wait for customers to place orders, the trainees have been able to make and hold stock of products ready for sale.


Making an Impact

With all project participants reporting little to no regular income at the start of the Transition to Work project, we are pleased to see that the available data shows at the 6-month point all participants working in Bricklaying, Tailoring, and Welding are earning significantly overly international poverty line. This is a meaningful increase in financial resilience and business growth and is a credit to the participants themselves but also the Eliashib staff team who have guided them through this project, we can’t wait to see the results at 12-months.


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March 2024





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