“The Tukole Uniform alone is a statement in and of itself, out there in the field it means that I am backed by a big brand and therefore I can be trusted with a task since there is a brand holding me accountable. It makes finding work easier because of the trust the brand behind me inspires.” Martin Wandera, Plumber.
It’s almost a rite of passage, for fresh graduates in Uganda to get trapped in the dizzying cycle of unemployment due to lack of work experience. This unemployment is attributed to their lack of experience, which lack of professional experience comes as a result of not getting work opportunities due to aforesaid lack of experience. On and on this vicious cycle goes rendering many skilled graduates jobless for years at times forcing them to change careers. According to statistics, only 28 percent of graduates get absorbed into the job market for formal employment. Many of the youths are unemployed because of the skills mismatch with job market requirements even though Uganda has over 258 accredited assessment centers with over 110k candidate’s enrollment annually and 60% graduating.
Martin Wandera, a 27 year old plumbing technician who graduated from Nakawa vocational institute in 2019 says that being signed onto the Tukole platform has helped him survive this harsh rite of passage. The Tukole team met Martin and other graduates at The Nakawa Vocational institute in their final year and pitched to them the idea of a digital start in 2019. Tukole Makerspace Ltd is an online marketplace that provides an intermediate platform to connect reliable and certified blue-collar professionals to jobs. Tukole does this through matching job requests of young urban corporate households to technical. The goal of this is to increase employment opportunities for skilled youth, through skilling them with soft skills that are relevant in the labor market and connecting them to the market through efficient digital platforms. To date, Tukole, in partnership with The Mastercard Foundation has linked over 1200 workers in over 10 categories to small, medium, and long term job opportunities
Before the lockdown in 2020, Martin was signed onto the platform where he underwent the various training sessions with the first being on quality management from an expert in the brewery industry. With this first training Martin felt that Tukole’s trainings were a great way to transition from the school setting into the industry.
The courses that Martin speaks about are provided by Tukole on a need basis, however the compulsory course units include; Customer service & care, conflict resolution & team work, investment & Savings, Quality Assurance, oral and written communication skills and Safety & Health, Negotiation & pricing, Reporting, Preparation for interviews, Building a resolution, Work planning & Setting realistic goals, mechanization for work efficiency and financial planning and book keeping. These courses are meant to ensure that on top of the technical services provided on the platform, customers are assured of a great experience working with the technicians. This professionality is something that lacks in the current market, the brevity of vocational courses compels the teachers to focus on technical skills living out soft skills whose absence is felt out here in the field affecting the income streams of technicians.
During the lockdown in Uganda, Martin has been able to get some work through the network that has been created by Tukole. Without this tool, finding work as a fresh graduate during a lockdown would have been harder, without tools like this. Most technicians relied on previous referrals and being a new entrant into the market straight from school meant that one hadn’t built a client base. Tukole became a great tool to have at the time in helping service providers meet their clients.
Emunyelet Filex says that the best thing about the Tukole Platform for him is the transparency that it encourages, making the work process easier. He says that it helps to know what kind of task he is going to do, and is able to bill beforehand and be sure of payment once the task is complete. Since the launch of the platform, Filex has been able to do some work regarding blockages in domestic pipelines and reconnection to water meters through Tukole requests.
Tukole’s operations in 2020 have brought positive feedback from the customers who find it convenient to have a trusted technician on call and a transparent process in which the entire problem gets solved.
For customers on the Tukole platform, they can be assured of getting instant access to professional service providers through the app and in terms of quality services that are supervised to satisfying completion by Tukole.
This year 2021, something to look forward to, is the launch of the platform and its new features that are going to lift the burden of estate maintenance off the shoulders of large businesses. The platform and its new features will be launched in March 2021. In the meantime, if one is in need of services in Electrical, Plumbing, Carpentry, Hair and Beauty, one doesn’t need to hustle looking for a service provider, they can simply log onto Tukole.ug for instant high quality services.