• Muhamad, 20, from Indonesia saw a bright future for youth around the globe. He told us that there will be more new opportunities for young people which do not currently exist. However, he also views the increased competition in “this era of globalization, which makes us compete with other youth in the world,” as a challenge, but one which will ensure that young people will therefore seek to improve their skills in order to be competitive in the job market.
• Seabe, 23, from Botswana told us that, “there are many African entrepreneurs; young, energetic and optimistic. I have a couple of friends who have started small businesses, mostly in the [information and communication technology] ICT sector, and some of them are actually competing with big brand names.” Instead of waiting for that dream job, Seabe encourages all to be proactive and industrious!
• According to Dulal, with the National Federation of Youth Organizations in Bangladesh, that federation ran a programme which targeted “480 rural poor youths, who received training on livestock and poultry farming. A revolving fund was then setup to provide loans to the trained youths to establish income-generating businesses.” The federation thus seeks to develop entrepreneurial skills in these young people. This for Dulal is a window of future opportunities and possibilities in Bangladesh.
• Michael, 23, from Italy and the World Esperanto Youth Organization, saw a future in the green economy:
“As young people tend to be more interested in trying out new ideas and developing new solutions, I think that they are more likely to be employed in fields connected with new, green technologies. Furthermore, young people are, in general, more conscious of global issues like climate change and social equity. For this reason, I think that promotion of green economies among youth is a winning solution…”
• In Botswana, Seabe, 23, informed us that graduates spend a lot of time looking for employment – in fact, “between two and five years.” According to him, the Government and other organizations in Botswana cannot cope with the increasing number of graduates. (A similar sentiment was expressed by Enass, 25, from Jordan.) Seabe goes on to say that efforts to create employment in the form of internships have further worsened the difficulties of these young job seekers, who are now “being exploited and in most cases are expected to undertake unmatched jobs.” Another challenge is the significant amount of work experience that is required by several organizations, whereas young graduates often do not have any work-related experience. Finally, he argues that the Government needs to be more creative in exploring possible new areas/sectors for employment, rather than focusing solely on farming and other agricultural areas.
• Yasmyn, 24, from Guadeloupe reflected that most people who are affected by unemployment in her country are those who do not have the necessary qualifications (such as diplomas). She also highlights racial discrimination as another persistent obstacle for many to attain meaningful employment in Guadeloupe.
• Lara, 21, a law student from the United Kingdom (UK), saw the application process to practice as a lawyer in the UK as a major obstacle in searching for and securing future employment. “It is often a four-stage process, and while doing a degree at the same time can be extremely difficult.”
• Bijay, 27, with the Association of Youth Organizations in Nepal, told us about the challenges he sees both present and in the foreseeable future:
“Working as part of civil society or as an [non-governmental organization] NGO is sometimes difficult, particularly in dealing with political parties. There is a triangular situation: on one side there is the NGO, at another corner are the political parties, and thirdly there is the Government. A kind of opposing culture is developing. They are always complaining that NGOs are not working properly. There is also age-based discrimination. Being a youth, it is sometimes difficult to work. Thus, a good platform for youth should be created. Even NGOs/ [international NGOs] INGOs are creating youth panels [and] volunteer groups; but even here, youth are being used for their own causes. Youth [are still restricted] and can't make a meaningful contribution towards policy or programmes. If youth are [not] supported to develop their knowledge, then conflict can take place.”