Youth Employment is a serious issue not only in Zambia but in countries all around the world. In this article we explore why Youth Employment matters and explore some of the ways Youth Employment is being tackled.
Why Youth Employment Matters
A recent discussion paper by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) highlights why youth employments is so important:
“Youth unemployment undermines the health, well-being and future prospects of young people and has huge costs for the economy and society. But it also risks sapping the health and vitality from our workforce – the talent and skills base on which our collective future economic success depends.”
As the International Labour Organization (ILO) state, young people have an important role to play in the levels of growth:
“Young people + decent jobs = growth”
The Business Case for Youth Employment
Business cases putting forward the economic benefits of Youth Employment are now being actively promoted by government and non-government organisations around the world. These business cases show some of the many benefits of employing young people, including their ability to adapt to change (including changing technology) as well as improved academic results when compared to previous generations. Young people can also bring benefits in terms of innovation, energy and knowledge as well as increased awareness and understanding of different cultures and societies.
The Missing Link?
In Zambia, there has been a real focus on improving educational standards in recent years. As a result, more and more young people are able to attain the educational standards required by employers. However, many young people are finding themselves unable to find employment due to lack of work experience and unable to gain work experience due to lack of employment. Lack of work experience is also a comment complaint by employers when looking to hire new employees. Is there a way that all stakeholders involved, including policymakers, educators, individuals and employers can resolve the problem of this missing link?
Building a New Relationship Between Employers and Young People
Many people are now asking whether it is time to build a new relationship between employers and young people. Improving the transition from education to work will require commitment and action from all stakeholders. Many governments are now actively promoting a variety of methods aimed at promoting the benefits of employing young people. These methods include tax incentives, funding and grants to those companies that choose to invest in young people. Other methods include employment guarantee schemes that enable young people to gain experience as well as work experience schemes that foster greater links between employers and schools, colleges and universities.
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