Reflect with Linda: TOMORROWS LEADERS CANT WAIT TO TAKE ACTION!
Youths today may not realize it, but they belong to the largest peer group in history. This global “youth bulge” of more than 1.2 billion faces economic and social challenges which many young people are ill-equipped to tackle, according to a recent survey from the International Youth Foundation. Helping prepare this unprecedented number of 15- to 28-year-olds for a more productive future will require better access to education and expanded opportunities to develop essential career skills.
This report paints a stark picture of the Nigerian youth, struggling to gain a foothold in the labour market. The world’s current youth unemployment rate — 12.7 percent for those under age 24 — is more than twice that of the population as a whole.
The causes of youth unemployment may differ from country to country, but the solution is similar everywhere: more education.” A more disturbing report, confirms that only 56 percent of youth worldwide enroll in the equivalent of high school. That means 44 percent spend their lives with the equivalent of an eighth-grade or lower education. The big question(s) remains “(Q1) as a society, as a people and as a government are we getting this generation the education they’ll need to be successful over their lifetimes? If the answer is NO to Q1, do we have alternative platform to ensure the major uneducated youth populace are skilled? If the answer is YES to Q1 do we have the infrastructure to provide adequate employment in this era of rising unemployment?
This issue of unemployment has given rise to several “Get rich quick” schemes where these very vulnerable youths are swayed into parting with money available to them. We have heard phrases like “Entrepreneurship methodology, Leadership and entrepreneurship Etc., I submit that these are big word that has taken us farther from the truth and have led us nowhere. I also submit that they are long and short term workable solutions that can be adopted. Possible solutions are not far-fetched and need to reach more young people, more quickly.
This article highlights promising programs around the world that is helping to curb the issues of unemployment such as:
entra21, which brings technology training, internships, and confidence-building opportunities to youth in Latin America
Career Entrepreneurship and Development Office, which helps Egyptian engineering students develop life skills, entrepreneurial thinking, and workforce readiness
Youth Empowerment Success, which helps teens and young adults in Russia, Poland, and other countries improve health awareness, confidence, and communication skills so they can make better life choices
I also add that companies that are dependent on a global pipeline of skilled employees have to be part of the solution, Microsoft, for instance, has started a program in Washington State called Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, in which its employees team up with high school teachers to co-teach computer science courses.
Setting up of different vocational colleges for the semi-skilled and un-skilled youth funded by government to take youths off the street and it serves as an alternative for the high school leavers.
Get Students engaged at all levels (Primary/Secondary/Tertiary)
Although many young people are on track for college and careers, some seem to be giving up. The report describes “a significant portion of young people in developed economies entering adulthood disengaged from any productive activity whatsoever. One of the recommended action steps is to engage young people in advocating for their own needs and aspirations. Like I always say the time is NOW! Let’s take action today; we don’t have to wait till it’s perfect before we take these steps.
Make Nigeria a better place today!