It is becoming increasingly clear that governments and the private sector cannot absorb the mammoth of graduates who get into the job market almost on daily basis. Vaguely speaking, every day a graduation ceremony takes place somewhere in Kigali, Kampala or Madrid—I mean all over the world.
The biting Euro Zone Crisis coupled with political turmoil in different parts of the world has worsened the already intricate reality that precariously hangs on the economic atmosphere. Current statistics indicate that Greece and Spain have fared worst with both reporting youth unemployment rates at over 50 percent of the total youth labour force.
South Africa epitomises the African case. Unemployment is staggeringly high with an incredible 73 percent being youth under 35 years.
It is against this backdrop that an expedient solution to unemployment, especially among the youth is needed. One will quickly say that the youth ought to be ‘job creators’ rather than ‘job seekers.’ A good idea, excellent in fact. However, a more pertinent segment of the job creation issue is often left out – how are the youth equipped in the job creation realm? Do they have the right skills and competencies? Do they have the capacity to generate new ideas and translate them lucrative into businesses?
What has gone wrong with some of the small enterprises that a few youth have collectively or, individually started? I’ll try to interrogate the root cause of this elusive issue. If you ask any unemployed youth why he/she is not trying their hand in business, be sure to get winding complaints of how hard it is to raise capital. Those who have tried and failed will talk of high business running costs and insufficient capital. A very eccentric category will talk of fear to invest because they can lose all their money.
Before the issue of inadequate capital or lack of it is tackled, extensive training should be beefed up. A new dynamism in education training with entrepreneurial DNA will solve unemployment issues among the youth on a significant scale.
Getting capital to start a business and sustaining it are two things that are worlds apart. Moreover, the ability to create, develop, and nurture new business ideas is not only painstaking but it is also knowledge intensive.
High education institutions, should rise to the occasion and seize the moment to transform the ‘job creation’ talk from a mere maxim to real results.
Teaching entrepreneurship in schools, colleges, and universities should not be mere policy implementation programmes but rather they should be practical oriented instruction programmes that will impart the relevant skills in developing and executing business plans.
One project-based programme initiated by Rwanda Tourism University College exemplifies what good trainings should be. It is an intricate combination of class tutoring, mentoring, and practical learning through field research. The skilful combination of theory and practice will put graduates at an advantage thus sharpening their agility in business management.