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Utilizing the Potential of Our Youth in the Modern Era
By Md. Faisal Imtiaz Khan, Head of Human Resources, Robi Axiata Limited
With the world facing challenges now more than ever, be it in education or job opportunities, what are the tools and lessons we give in order to empower them with the know-how to face challenges on their own? As a human resource professional, these questions often come to my mind, which need some elaboration.
In most of the developing countries, young people are talented and we believe they are our greatest assets. However, due to the high rate of youth unemployment or under-employment, we are lagging behind in utilizing them in the national economy. At the same time, the corporate sector is mired with the lack of various kinds of skills.
To my mind, it looks quite confusing. After having a large number of youth who are eager to work, the corporate sector is still far getting the right people with the right skill set. According to the World Bank, more than two billion working-age adults are not equipped with the essential literacy skills required by employers. Among the young adults under the age of 25, the number is about 420 million worldwide. The reason for this situation is that the youth are lacking the necessary skills to get a job in the corporate world.
Building a career in the corporate sector mostly depend on three aspects; the will power and skill of an individual, social ecosystem, and corporate support system. Only if all three of these factors work together that it is possible to convert the true potential of youth into reality.
Now, let’s focus on the point of personal will. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” The statement is very important because the shape of a person’s career mostly depends on his or her personal will power and dedication. What I want to achieve in my career primarily depends on me.
To achieve the desired success, one has to define their own career aspirations.
Building a career in the corporate sector mostly depends on three aspects; the will power and skill of an individual, social ecosystem, and corporate support system
If we don’t know where we want to go, how will we get there? So, take time to clearly define your aspirations. After that you have to identify your goals and create your career plan. Goals reflect what you want to accomplish to improve yourself and to move forward. Goals ensure that you are headed in the right direction and help achieve your aspirations efficiently.
Then comes the role of society, family, and teachers. Together we can call it the support system for getting the right job. A support system can really encourage the youth to follow their passions. They can mentor them on how to plan, execute, and follow their passions.
However, the reality is different in many countries. In most cases, parents still like to pursue their dreams by pushing children to become doctors or engineers or the profession they could not pursue themselves. Hence, it limits the potential of the youth to explore, excel, and exceed. However, there are hundreds of professions where a person can be successful. If a child has a keen interest in mathematics and parents still pushing the child for medical studies, then the child may not excel in the professional life later on. The parents and teachers should help and guide a child to choose his or her passion as a profession rather than dictating to choose a profession.
Our current education system is also failing to provide the proper skillsets to the students. Because of this, when they join a company after their graduation or post-graduation, the companies have to invest huge amounts of money again in orienting them the basic corporate skills. I am using the term ‘again’ because the parents had already invested earlier for their children to learn those skills. Because of the shortfall in our education system, the children fail to learn and the corporate companies are left with no other option but to reinvest for teaching them the same skills.
These problems are nothing new for us. One might ask why the situation is not changing. It is not changing because of the rigid mentality of our society towards change, and because the persons who are involved in the whole support system don’t support change.
Every profession has two sets of skills. One is ‘soft’ and the other is called ‘hard.’ Soft skills are special by nature while hard skills are common in nature. If anyone chooses a profession against his or her will, he or she might miss learning the soft skills of the profession. To learn the special or soft skills, one must have the passion for the profession.
If the passion and profession were the same, then the story could have been different. We all know the success story of Steve Jobs and his Apple. He became so successful because he had a passion for making computers.
The government and corporate entities also have roles to play in capitalizing the true potential of the youth. Reforms in our education system with a long-term vision need to be implemented. The corporate entities can also play their role by helping the youth to know about required skillsets for a job.
However, in all cases, the policy-makers must pay heed to the voice of the younger generation. Often it is the young people who understand the measures that will help them adapt in their particular situation. With the right will, we can develop policies to develop the skills and jobs that young people need and deserve.