Change Nigeria Project: The Not-for-Profit Recruitment Agency That Pays It Forward

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Vincere powers recruitment companies globally to make faster placements with our innovative recruiting technology, and occasionally we sign-up customers with super inspiring stories.

We spoke to Neneh Umusu Founder of Change Nigeria Project to tell us more about what it means to run an agency that pays it forward and how their programs are helping unemployed youths in Nigeria gain confidence and skills.

Vincere: Change Nigeria Project is clearly a different type of recruitment agency. What makes you different?

Neneh Umusu: Change Nigeria Project is not your typical run-of-the-mill recruitment firm. We are a registered charity that provides fully funded apprenticeships, traineeships and job placements programs for those who are unemployed, earning below minimum wage or engaged in undesirable employment within Nigeria.

V: Recruitment is typically quite a revenue-focussed business. How do you manage to operate a not-for-profit recruitment model?

Neneh: We are financially supported by voluntary contributions and donations from individuals and corporate partners. Some of our donors include Microsoft, Sage and Salesforce. As a charity, funding is usually trickling in for us, but it’s not necessarily the monetary support we get that keeps us going. We also receive support from people in many other ways such as volunteers and the use of office space in Nigeria.

As funding is limited we didn’t want an influx of unemployed youths, as we didn’t want to disappoint them or give them false hope but yet we needed to let the youths know that we existed. So we took the decision back in March to only run 2 Google Adwords campaigns to generate awareness so those that were actively looking for work will stumble upon us. To date we have had more than 1 million hits on the Agency site and 1000+ sign-ups. Our Facebook page is doing very well since we began engaging with our followers on the 7th October and we are close to hitting 20,000 likes – which is very encouraging.

We are still relatively small so for now I’m micro managing every aspect of it. I speak with candidates, do the screening and shortlisting’s as well as generate new placements. Sometimes I end up running in all directions because there’s just so much to do! But what keeps me going is the knowledge that what I’m doing can actually change someone’s life, and that’s very fulfilling to me.

V: What’s your vision for the company?

Neneh: Is to have this model rolled out nationwide! But before that, is to develop a series of Sector Champions who will work with employers within their sectors to engage them with the wider Apprenticeship Plan. In turn defining and shaping future skill needs which ‘fingers crossed’ will encourage schools to deliver a curriculum that prepares young people for work and gives them insight into the sector in which they are likely to be working.

V: Do you have any stories to share about previous recruitment systems you’ve used?

Neneh: I had an absolutely nightmare trying to find something that I can actually use. We were originally using TargetRecruit (which is an app built on Salesforce) to manage our candidates. I tried to adapt myself to the system but no matter how I tried, I still didn’t like it. It just wasn’t what I needed. For the amount of time that I will spending inside a system, I have to be able to like the look and feel of it and not get confused!

Also, I wanted to go with Bullhorn but I didn’t even get a chance to use the system. They gave me a run through which looked good so I was thinking of using them. It seemed OK but I told them I wasn’t ready to commit yet due to funding and my travel schedules. I was then told that if I waited till after December to sign I would have to pay the £400+ implementation fee, so I signed the contract stating that I would like to start using it next year. My training was due to take place in March/April that didn’t happen – it’s not like Vincere where you can actually go in and take a test-drive. To date I have had no training on the system nor received access codes or links – nothing from Bullhorn yet they have the audacity to chase me for payment! They wanted me to pay for the month I signed up for, cancel the account and then sign another contract starting from October as I expressed I wanted to continue with them… I was very surprised that they wanted me to pay for something I had no access to through no fault of my own and therefore started looking for something else and found Vincere.

V: You’re new to Vincere…how has your Vincere experience been so far?

Neneh: What I really do like about Vincere is your support. I can just send a really quick email to support without leaving the system and get a response. When I signed up for Vincere, it didn’t support the currency I needed (Nigerian Naira), so I clicked on the support icon and sent a quick email, and then within a couple of days, it was there! All the other different functionalities that I asked for was also taken into account and added to the product release roadmap. The product works well for me and it’s a really good thing to have that kind of support, at the click of your fingers!

I particularly like how quick and easy it is for me to add a candidate. Basically the whole seamlessness of everything – that’s what I really like. I don’t believe I have used all of Vincere’s functionality but from what I’ve used and seen so far, it works for me.

V: How can people make a contribution to CNP?

Neneh: There are many ways you can support the cause. One is by making a donations – this can be either a one-off or a regular donation via direct debit. Another way is to help by fundraising – we have a couple of initiatives on the website. For example, you could get your colleagues, families or friends to organise an event to raise money or simply invite us to attend your events so we can mingle with guests and promote the cause. We will soon be making it possible to take out advertising space on our Agency site with all revenue generated going to the charity.

To learn more about Change Nigeria Project, go to http://www.changenigeriaproject.co.uk/ and http://agency.changenigeriaproject.co.uk/ or connect with Neneh on LinkedIn.

If you’d like to make a donation and help support the cause, please go to http://www.changenigeriaproject.co.uk/your-donation-counts/  Every donation brings Change Nigeria Project closer to achieving their target of raising £2,400 every month. This means putting 12 people or more back into work per year.

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