Needed Urgently: Incentives for youth creating jobs for peers
In this changing times, there has been growing concern about the place of the youth in our society. This has generated a lot of conversation, specifically on our ability as young people to survive in the modern world. Arguably, the world as it is now presents a unique set of problems.
First of all, the pace of life is quite fast and subsequently, the pressure to adequately respond is becoming immense. It is now common to find a young couple having to juggle between demanding careers, parenting their young children, checking up on their aging parents and in addition to all of this, maintaining an active social life.
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Second, our social values are evolving, and we the youth, are now exposed to many diverse cultures thanks to the power of technology. What's more, these cultures are influencing our behaviour even though they may not be suitable for us in our environment because we rarely take time to understand the context in which such cultures arose.
This exposure is shaping our way of life in ways that we had not expected before, and consequently, our cultural identity is being eroded hence leaving us with no concrete sense of self.
Since we the youth have found ourselves in the midst of these changing times and the problems that are inherent in it, we need to learn new skills every day because we can no longer predict the kind of jobs we will be doing, and also to relearn the skills we already have acquired over time because even the problems we encounter at the workplace now require new ways of solving them.
We therefore need to incentivise job creation opportunities by the youth. Picture a young graduate with a degree in engineering trying to maneuver his way in the job market. The young graduate’s eagerness to be absorbed into the job market might soon turn into frustration when he realises that employers in his field require skills that take time to hone, skills that he did not acquire while sitting in a lecture hall at the university.
This notwithstanding the fact that he needs to put food on the table, pay bills and occasionally contribute his part to the upkeep of his siblings. He is given two options; be absorbed into the market as an unpaid intern, during which he will learn the skills required for the job up to the time he has gained enough experience to be competitive in his field, or remain dependent on his folks as he continues ‘tarmacking’ for an indefinite period of time.
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With such demands weighing down on his shoulders, what should such a young person do? Granted, the aforementioned options do not seem viable to him at this time because his needs are immediate and immense.
The only viable option that he has is to seek creative ways to earn a living. Hence the essence of job creation.
Sadly, with the high rate of unemployment in the country now, many young people have found themselves in the midst of this predicament. Incessant demands and expectations from society, an unemployment crisis which they are the primary victims of, and the frustration of having to go back to the drawing board to seek "out-of-the-box" solutions for the same.
Crisis of jobs
Consequently, many have found themselves having to seek alternative ways of earning a living, ways that do not necessarily make use of the theoretical knowledge that they acquired in school.
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This impeding crisis calls for a multi-sectoral approach to finding a sustainable solution. Our attempts at creating jobs for ourselves and our fellow youth should be boosted and promoted by both the government and the private sector.
All the hurdles that prevent youthful entrepreneurs from earning a sustainable income for instance, should be eliminated. Imagine that young graduate with a degree in engineering now having to start an agribusiness venture.
What can be done to ensure that this young person does not incur frustratingly high initial costs as he begins his venture? In addition to this, when his products are ready, how can such a young person with seemingly no prior exposure in this field access a ready market for his produce?
And when he finally does get access to the market, what can be done to ensure that he gets the best price possible for his product?
As time goes by, how can the government create a conducive environment for such a business to be profitable and sustainable for this youth, who was once a frustrated and unemployed graduate, so that he too can earn an income and above that employ other young graduates and save them from the frustration he had to go through before finally settling down on his venture?
Mr Mokamba is Communication Consultant in Nairobi
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