We recommend that every reader take that first single step towards achieving SDG 8 – full employment for every young woman and man by 2030 – by taking at least one of the following Steps:
Step ONE – Teach: Legislate for teachers of bottom-of-the-pyramid youth to prioritise lessons that enable their pupils to thrive in self-employment. Tailor curricula to meet the needs of all pupils, combining business skills training with literacy and numeracy lessons to ensure your country produces confident, capable young entrepreneurs.
Step TWO – Skills-match: Ensure your educational providers deliver the skills your employers – and country – need, both now and in the future. This is the low-hanging fruit of Youth Job Creation.
Step THREE – Access to capital: Support innovation in microfinance: try franchising and loan insurance; create access to mobile banking, crowdfunding etc. Make sure your regulatory systems make it dead easy for youth to access funds and start a business.
Step FOUR – Accept failure: Business failure is inevitable. Embrace it as an opportunity for learning, not an occasion to punish. Many successful entrepreneurs fail in their first attempt, learn from those failures and build success on the back of them. Legislate to make failure a beginning, not an end.
Teachers & Educators:
Step ONE – Learn to love entrepreneurship teaching: Career planning and the promise of profits can incentivize young people’s learning in reading, writing and maths skills. Thinking up slogans for a business idea is a great way to develop vocabulary and writing skills. Budgets and cash flows teach math. Entrepreneurs keep societies moving. Every child needs to learn how to be one.
Step TWO – Make friends with the private sector: Talk to them, welcome them into your classrooms, introduce them to your students. Make them feel that you are, in some way, working for them.
Step THREE – Prioritize career guidance: We recommend that teachers empower youth to be “connectors” here. Get youth to organize jobs fairs, career guidance seminars, work experience programmes and links with employers that expose their peers to what awaits them all in the world of work.
NGOs and practitioners:
Let us pool our talent, our experience and our energy and put it at the service of those policymakers and donor agencies who are prepared to leave in the crucial development endeavour. And let us work with them to create the standardised measure by which we can compare the cost-effectiveness of our different interventions
Youth and youth Leaders:
Step ONE – Take responsibility: At the end of the day, this is a youth problem. If you aspire to be a youth leader, study the issue: take a position and promote it. Discuss it with your peers.
Step TWO – Plan: Carefully plan your own career through the biggest investment that your government or parents are ever going to make in you. Add to it the work experience and private study that will help you achieve your goal.
Step THREE – Embrace peer-teaching: Statistics prove that you will learn more from teaching others than you will from reading and being taught by others.
Step FOUR – Take a stand: If you find that parents, or government, are not taking the problems you face seriously, shout about it. If you don’t, no one else will. Don’t wait for support that may never come. Take action yourself, knowing that it is better to try and fail than never to try at all.