Through youth-led locally developed research, youth-led and youth-serving organizations recently identified key retrospect to address unemployment in Kisumu and Kenya at large. Youth Excel’s Issue Based Collaborative Network participants further pitched their key findings to key stakeholders in the community to embrace wholistic approaches to ensure no-one is left behind. This collaborative approach is fundamental in terms of creatively tackling this shared problem through peer-to-peer learning.
Many Africans with advanced qualifications are finding it rather difficult to transition from school to work given they do not bear the needed market skills. From one of the random surveys conducted, Omollo, a graduate in Bachelors of Business Management says “I graduated five years ago and have been tarmacking without getting glued to a specific job that matches my competencies. Currently I am demonstrating my skills in plumbing where I manage to monetize my work per month which has sustained me to date.” He further added that, young people miss on opportunities because they do not want to detach from what they specialized on and this is killing innovation amongst us. From these insights one would see the need to maximize his/her energy in developing their skills instead of fully depending on academia to match the labor market needs.
A multitude of people complain of the difficulty in finding jobs whereas there are so many opportunities especially in the digital sector, construction, STEM among others. In these sectors there are good mentors willing to share knowledge and experiences on how to make a living but youth show reluctance by expecting greater outcomes which may even take years to yield anything.
Benchmarks are a necessity in evaluating Africa’s employment outcomes for individuals of all ages. However, comparing levels and trends of employment outcomes in developing countries such as Africa and developed countries such as the United States of America is unattainable. To reverse the Africa’s employment woes, there is a need to begin appreciating the utility of all careers right from the tertiary institutions to the vocational training institutions. There is a need to implement policies on youth issues and introduce a shift of the educational focus from excelling in examinations to exploring a degree’s actual application in the society.
Africa ought to unite in the spirit of “Ubuntu” with a coordinated response that embodies intentional collaboration with key stakeholders for impactful actions geared towards enhancing employability of the young people who are the future of this generation. The youth need results and deliverables to be able to steer the economy forward. Many ongoing policy discussions at the state and global levels have focused on youth advancements in the educational needs, health, partnerships and enhanced livelihoods. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consider the youth as potential partners for achieving inclusive and peaceful societies. The African Youth Charter calls for states to equip youth with the necessary skills for meaningful participation in decision-making processes.
It is time to no longer view Africa as a continent embedded with crisis, but one that offers great opportunities. The youth of Africa have heard enough of the rhetoric and words must be matched with actions moving forward.
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