October 31, 2023 Whitney van Schyndel

Driving Meaningful Youth Participation: Sprints’ Impact in Egypt

Sprints is dedicated to fostering a brighter future for Egyptian youth. Leveraging its profound expertise in providing training, Sprints offers tailored solutions that cater to the unique requirements of aspiring tech professionals and prospective employers. At Sprints, young individuals receive the tools and guidance necessary to elevate their technical, business, and soft skills, all with a singular objective: to open doors to high-quality opportunities within the tech sector. Unlocking decent tech employment opportunities for youth is Sprints’ primary objective, and with CFYE’s support, it will impact the lives of 2500 youth.

But Sprints goes beyond just providing job opportunities. The organisation firmly believes that a motivated and skilled workforce truly thrives when it is meaningfully engaged. In this article, we’ll take you behind the scenes at Sprints to understand how they prioritise meaningful youth participation (MYP) and why it is woven into the very core of their business.

Image: Sprints Bootcamp

Understanding Youth Aspirations

Young individuals in the Middle East and Africa are enthusiastic about upskilling to secure well-paying jobs and financial stability. However, the reality is that many traditional training programs often fall short of delivering tangible results, equipping learners solely with hard skills while neglecting the critical transition into the job market. Sprints recognises the need for a holistic approach. It acknowledges that youth empowerment requires more than just technical proficiency; it necessitates a strategy that addresses multifaceted challenges. Rather than solely focusing on the acquisition of hard skills, Sprints meticulously crafts learning experiences that align with the broader aspirations of the youth, addressing the gaps that hinder their employment prospects, whether it’s mastering coding or developing business acumen.

Addressing Barriers: A Gender-Sensitive Approach

While many young people in Egypt face barriers to entering the tech sector, women grapple with additional gendered barriers. Some of the challenges women face are low enrolment rates in tech programs, cultural norms prohibiting them from pursuing a career, childcare responsibilities, lack of access to financial support, and gender biases in hiring. To mitigate these challenges and ensure that women and youth are meaningfully engaged, Sprints has put a few mechanisms in place:

Inclusivity and Respect

In Egypt, the tech industry has traditionally been marked by a gender imbalance, with women constituting only 26% of tech graduates.

Recognising this gender gap as a barrier to inclusive economic growth and youth participation, Sprints has undertaken a dedicated effort to create an inclusive tech landscape. It has launched targeted awareness campaigns and programs specifically designed to engage and motivate young women to enrol in tech courses. Initiatives like “Tech for Non-Techies” and “Career Shifters” are engineered with these specific challenges in mind. They aim to not only build technical skills but also bolster the confidence and determination of young women, enabling them to break through the barriers that have traditionally hindered their progress in the tech industry.

Accountability and Transparency

Sprints places a significant emphasis on accountability and transparency, recognising that these principles are essential not only for the benefit of the youth but also for the employers and the overall success of their programs. It aims to ensure that the expectations between the employee and employer are well-established and transparent. To guarantee a qualified workforce for the employer, Sprints requires the full commitment of the participants and sets clear expectations for active learning. This is to help participants understand the responsibilities that come with the opportunity to upskill and embark on a career in the tech industry. At the same time, it conducts meticulous checks of the partner working environments to ensure the jobs they provide to the graduates are decent.

Are you curious about what youth have to say about the Sprints programme? Explore the testimonials here.

Putting Youth in the Centre

MYP means not only engaging youth in a designed program but actively designing solutions together with youth. Sprints embodies this belief by showing that if learning journeys are developed for young people, their voices should be a driving force. Before crafting learning journeys, Sprints conducted more than 15,000 interviews, surveys, assessments, and feedback sessions with recent graduates from different backgrounds. This enabled the programs to be responsive to the youth’s needs and implement improvements to match their expectations. For example, after getting feedback from the pilot phase learners of the web development program that they wish to add more sessions to better digest the content, Sprints added extra sessions to all the following rounds. Similarly, learners hoped for a faster feedback session on their completed tasks and projects. To enable this, Sprints is working closely with CFYE to build an automated scoring and reviewing system to boost the quality of the feedback and make it instant.

Image: Sprints Bootcamp

Moreover, to facilitate meaningful participation and knowledge sharing between youth groups, Sprints allows graduates to become part of the Sprints Learning Journey Squad to review, support, and score new learners’ assignments and projects.

Sustaining Progress for Youth Development

In its ongoing mission to offer valuable development opportunities to the youth, Sprints sustains itself by generating income from its paid learning journeys. This task can be demanding due to the prevalence of scholarships and free educational programs for Egyptian youth. However, Sprints is addressing this challenge through creative payment schemes and partnerships with the Egyptian government.

Continuous Learning

Sprints is dedicated to regularly updating their learning journeys. To achieve an impactful learning experience, Sprints responds to both the market’s and youth’s voices in the design and development of the project. To continue its commitment to MYP and build trust with youth, Sprints conducts regular feedback sessions, surveys, and offline retreats.

Sprints’ success story illustrates that meaningful youth participation leads to better-designed programs and, in turn, increased business potential. Their commitment to youth has made them a force for positive change in Egypt.

This publication is a series of articles designed to shed light on CFYE’s and our partners’ innovative efforts to encourage meaningful youth participation.

, ,