Concerning data released by the Statistics South Africa quarterly labour force survey in the 2nd quarter of 2021 indicate that the country’s unemployment rate has hit a new record high of 34.4% from 32.6% in the previous quarter. This is the highest jobless rate in the past decade, with youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, leading the pack at 64.4%.
Youth unemployment is driven by a number of factors, including:
- The increase in the youth population not matched by an increase in job opportunities.
- The schooling system that is not necessarily equipping learners with the skills required to effectively enter the job market.
- Employers unwilling to employ unskilled and inexperienced young school leavers, while not providing them with an opportunity to gain much needed workplace experience.
- Lately, the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and a week of deadly unrest and rampant looting in parts of the country in July – adversely affecting entry level jobs predominantly occupied by young people.
It is crucial that we work as a collective and discover elective approaches to break the cycle of unemploymentby empowering our children with the necessary skills to become self-sufficient adults.
In the present digital world, it has become generally acknowledged that millennials, can hope to have somewhere around five different careers in the course of their life. Establishing a strong framework by showing business venture abilities at an early age to explore the similarly fast changing world of work turns out to be particularly remarkable.
An entrepreneurial mind set is characterised by the ability to identify new opportunities and explore different solutions to problems, to overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed in a variety of settings – essential skills that can also be applied to life in general.
These are some of the invaluable interventions that can contribute towards raising a future generation that we can all be proud of:
- Inspire creativity
Children are born with a strong imagination and natural instinct for creativity, nurturing this trait at relevant intervals is important. Learning about and encouraging your child’s interest is a good start towards preserving this talent. Ask your child open ended questions that raise awareness about their surroundings and also encourage them to constantly ask the “what if” questions. Learning this skill will improve the child’s self-esteem, communication skills, problem-solving ability, and view of the world, therefore increasing chances of future success. Creativity allows entrepreneurs to think outside the box and beyond the traditional solutions.
- Motivate for goal setting and planning
Research shows that written goals are over 80 percent more likely to be achieved, so imagine the possibilities! Encouraging children to write down their goals and to select the one they think would have the most impact in their lives is very crucial. Let them choose their main goal and align it to purpose by answering questions like:
What is it that you wish you could achieve?
What is the benefit of doing this well?
Assist children in breaking their big goal into smaller steps and brainstorming potential obstacles so that they have a plan to overcome them. Setting goals and planning in life and in business is incredibly important. It provides a clear path to follow and maintains motivation especially during setbacks.
- Inculcate financial literacy
The need for financial literacy cuts across all ages. Teaching children wise money habits at an early age will introduce a financial foundation that will help them avoid costly mistakes into the future. You can teach this essential skill to children by giving them the opportunity to earn their own money through chores or their own small business. Educate them about how to budget using their income. Teach them the value of money, saving, investing and demonstrate to them how their money could be used to create more money in the future
- Encourage teamwork and collaboration
Whenever children are exposed to working in a team, they have the opportunity to build positive, long-term relationships. Through teamwork, children develop important life skills such as listening, creative thinking and problem solving. Building teamwork skills also develops higher levels of self-confidence, leadership skills, self-esteem, empathy, and compassion. You can help nurture these skills by encouraging children to participate in organised activities like sport. Teach children to encourage others and be open to learning from them. The sooner children learn to work together, the stronger their team building skills will help them develop into thriving adults.
- Nurture experiential learning
Experiential learning activities can help children to remain focused. Children who are engaged in learning actively are less likely to lose interest. This way of learning encourages children to be creative, to make mistakes and to reflect. The classic example you can use to expose children to experiential entrepreneurship education is the “lemonade stand”. Were children also learn the art of communicating value, team work and the power of collaboration as they source products, produce and sell as much as they can. Educators also attest to improved attitude towards learning when children are exposed to this form of learning. “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them” Aristotle
- Teach the art of giving back
Helping children experience the happiness that comes from giving to others is probably one of the most invaluable lessons in teaching children to become caring citizens and stewards of the planet. You can do your part by encouraging children to engage in community projects or gifting the less privileged on special occasions like birthdays. Young entrepreneurs can also give back to the communities that support their businesses as a form of gratitude.
There is evidence that teaching entrepreneurial skills at an early age can lead to long-run entrepreneurial success. An analysis of Junior Achievement’s Company Programme, the most widely taught entrepreneurship programme in the world, which followed 9,731 Swedish participants over sixteen years found that participants were more likely to start a business. Participants earned on average 10.2% more from entrepreneurship, a decade later, compared to entrepreneurs who did not participate. While not all children may consider entrepreneurship as a viable career option, they all need our support and encouragement to learn these essential skills which are not taught in the classroom, to help them succeed in the global economy.