Most quality sport programmes integrate life-skills including leadership, confidence, decision-making and teamwork that translate naturally off the pitch.  The next step is to translate these life-skills into employability skills.  Women Win has identified the employability skills valued by their business partners. These are divided into Process, People and Self, skill areas that can be incorporated into existing sport programmes. 




Technical Competence:

  • Technical/Job Skills
  • Industry Knowledge


  • Teamwork
  • Coaching
  • Team management and mobilization

Personal Growth and Development:

  • Self-awareness
  • High Professional/Personal Standards
  • Flexibility

Decision Making:

  • Problem Solving
  • Information seeking
  • Risk Taking


  • Active Listening
  • Writing Skills
  • Presentation Skills

Listening and Intuition:

  • Reflection
  • Situational Awareness

Results Delivery:

  • Initiative
  • Planning and Organisational Skills
  • Results Orientation

Leadership and Influence:

  • Leadership
  • Personal/Professional Credibility
  • Influence and Negotiation Skills

Taking Action with Integrity:

  • Personal Responsibility and Accountability
  • Self Assurance/Confidence
  • Honesty
  • Confidentiality

Coaches and programme managers will recognize the Self and People skills, focused on personal responsibility, self-awareness, flexibility and honesty, as learning already embedded in sports.  Practice sessions and competitions can be used to call attention to and build girls’ skills in these areas. These personal skills can be honed on the pitch and applied in a job setting.  While Process skills are related to technical competencies to fulfill job duties and may seem removed from sport programming, many of the process steps for decision making and results delivery on the pitch can be adapted to a job setting.  Programme managers can help girls hone and connect their personal qualities and interests into employment skills.

Featured Initiatives: Building Employability Skills in Sport Programmes

  •  Moving the Goalposts, a girls’ football programme in Kilifi, Kenya, runs its large program through girls’ practicing leadership and learning organisational skills. Girls, both in and out of school, makeup “field committees.” These field committees are responsible for all teams using their field, organizing the practice time, maintaining attendance records, and coordinating with other groups who use the field (usually a school or community field). They also organize the league and Saturday matches, organize referees, and make sure that first aid and peer counselors (trained players) are always on site during practices and games.
  •  At both Safe Spaces and Boxgirls in Nairobi, Kenya, girls are given access to computers and training on how to use them. The hope is that girls will use their skills to increase their value in the job marketplace.
  •  At Moving the Goalposts in Kilifi, Kenya, girls compete for small financial prizes at tournaments and major events.


Additional Resources

Standard Chartered’s Goal programme, Be Money Savvy section helps girls identify and differentiate their skills from their qualities and offers suggestions for how to find a job, including job shadow, training resources, apprenticeships and networking strategies.  This is an excellent activity to help younger girls begin to think about their earning potential.

EMpower’s It’s Her Business, handbook’s Chapter 3,Training Issues, identifies barriers that make it hard for young women to get and keep jobs, then outlines a approach to overcome these barriers by equipping young women with the skills or tools necessary while helping organisations work with potential employers to create a respected job preparednessprogram.

In addition to partnering with existing business partners, some Women Win programme partners have chosen to be more directly involved by running a business to provide skills training to increase participants’ employability or ability to start a small business.  As depicted on the chart below, EMpower identifies four common ways NGO enterprises provide skill training, ranging from ones where the risk is primarily assumed by the organisation offering the training, to ones where the risk is primarily assumed by the young women participants.

Summary of EMpower’s Four Categories of Employability Programmes




NGO enterprise assumes most of the risk, as well as takes responsibility for the marketing and salesof the goods and/or services.

Attractive when working with highly vulnerable populations, as the risk for individual participants is minimized.

Does not teach individual young women to manage risk or impart business skills. Young women may not want to leave.

NGO supplies raw materials to individuals or groups, pays a fixed rate for the products they produce, and is responsible for selling and marketing finished products.

Lessens some risk assumed by individual or group producers.  Also encourages participants to take on some business aspects of production.

Some important aspects of business management are not learned. The prospects for long-term sustainability and self-sufficiency are lower because producers continue to depend on the NGO.

NGO provides capital or support for groups to start their own enterprises.

Encourages participants to develop capacities in all aspects of business management. Risk to the individual is minimized.

Younger, less educated, or less vocal participants may become marginalized or have less say in decision making.

NGO provides capital or support for individuals to start their own enterprises.

Has the potential to build capacity in business management and economic self-sufficiency among individual young women.

Places almost the entire burden of risk on the young woman entrepreneur.

According to the ICRW report, One Woman = One Business, 1.2 billion women in the paid labour force now comprise nearly half (46 percent) of the global workforce. Although a growing share of women have waged work, a significant proportion still are self-employed, mainly in micro or small businesses that yield low and irregular income.  Women Win view self-employment as a form of entrepreneurship and believe sport programmes have an important role to play in promoting entrepreneurship as an economic empowerment strategy. The Entrepreneurship section of this guide provides tools and discusses this concept in greater detail.


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