Kush's Uganda EGS Blog

Enterprise Growth Services is a non-profit department of EY. It embodies everything we mean when we say our ambition is to build a better working world. We send our best people to provide the expertise and advice these businesses and projects need in order to flourish. The programme also provides an unrivaled development opportunity for the EY employees who underpin it. We interviewed one of our 4th year graduates, Kush Jethwa, and asked him about his experiences on the programme.

As an ambitious fourth year working in Audit, Kush was looking for an opportunity to do something different – something that challenged and inspired him. Encouraged by his EY mentor to apply for the EGS programme, Kush successfully earned a place on a project in Western Uganda to advise an NGO (Non-governmental organisation) called Traidlinks. “Substantial amounts of oil have been found in the area,” Kush says. “Most of the locals realise that, while they might not benefit directly from the oil find, they could benefit from being able to feed the workers and visitors who will come to their remote rural area. So they are striving to become more commercial.”

That’s where EY can lend its commercial expertise. Up to a point, it was business as usual. “We needed to understand what Traidlinks were doing. We had to analyse their strategy… The work is the same. It’s certainly to the same standard.” But the similarities ended when Kush had to get into the detail of the project with the stakeholders – Ugandan subsistence farmers, some of whom spoke very little English.

This is when Kush met John Bhauryhanga, a farmer. “John was really inspiring. He dropped out of school when his father died, to bring up his brothers and sisters. He made a ten point plan to improve his life. What he wanted to achieve was astonishing, and they were things that in my life I took for granted, such as living in a permanent home, getting transport and access to water. That is something that will definitely stay with me.”

Kush says his whole outlook has changed from his eight-week stint in Uganda. “It was really exciting –people of my generation thrive on change and the requirement to adapt.” Kush has helped development in Uganda, and EY’s EGS programme has helped him develop too, with the experience bringing a new awareness to the way he works as a result. “It’s made me more aware of my strengths. I’m good in meetings and on the qualitative stuff. I find I concentrate more on key issues, and I’m better at challenging others to get better results.”

All of this before he’s finished his ICAEW qualification.