Thursday, September 26, 2013

#TheGraduateDiaries : Where have we gone wrong?

#TheGraduateDiaries is on the roll again, are you

Well, or better yet, do you have a job?

Well, welcome aboard, for this post is an attempt to answer the question "where have we gone wrong?" And all this is in relation to youth unemployment .

Some of the major causes of youth unemployment include: the economy, unrealistic education expectations by employers, corruption, poor education and social challenges like drug abuse and crime.

According to the International Labor Organization, " young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, and the crisis is worse because currently 73 million youth are looking for work."

Most young people are either under-employed or looking for decent work and the education standards are increasing such that with just a Bachelors degree, one has a long way to go and is in need of over 5 years of experience to land a good paying job.

But, you know all this.

What you'd love to know is where have we gone wrong?

Closer home- in Kenya, where have we gone wrong?

Drum rolls....please.... ( allow me to talk of initiative)

So, have you heard of the Uwezo Fund ?
It is the government's way of focusing on the youth- creating room for initiatives and trying to encourage young people to create employment not seek it. (a very noble idea, by the way)
But, the working point of the fund is still marred by the same bumps that are in public government offices. Same structures, mode of application and expectations- so where have we gone wrong?

For starters- Kenya knows they have a number of unemployed people, how many, why, how and where? This information is not known.

So we know there's a problem- but we haven't identified the root cause. We've gone wrong.

Second, public universities and other institutions of higher learning have increased their intake of students (and not lecturers and funds) but employers have not increased the need for employees.
In fact right now most employers would rather train their employers to fulfill a task or need instead of hiring someone else, and if they cannot- they hire a consultant and move on!

So, where does that leave us?

Still stuck- and we are still asking

Youth Unemployment will take time to deal with- it will also need commitment from leaders and organizations- and unless this comes through we will still face the challenge of an increasing number of either unemployed or underemployed youth.

One way to right this wrong- is to address the skills gap.

Organizations can increase employment by having graduate programs or apprenticeships- and if a position is not filled- train a young person and let them take it up.

Next post- I will share some stories of young people doing great things with the little they have.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.
How can one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody?