It the recently concluded Youth Connekt 2022 Summit, a bigger part of the discussions focused on youth employment and innovation. On each and every panel, participants went around the challenges and opportunities available for young people to be employed at a time when the world is going through tough economic times and recession. As economies around the world continue to grapple with the after effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, jobs are becoming few and the cost of living continues to skyrocket. So, what do young people need to thrive in the current job market? Grit, resilience, patience, attention to detail and smart skills. But those are not enough. Young people need to venture into smart agriculture. As Awel Lam Mathiang, a youth delegate from South Sudan put it, today it is all about young people going into areas previously seen as ‘uncomfortable’ for young people such as agriculture, instead of focusing on areas where everybody is going. “One thing for sure, the world will continue to require food. We need food today more than ever. The question is, how do we engage in agriculture in a smart and productive way?” Awel says. From what she shared with her compatriots from other countries, today more than ever, agriculture is a ‘sexy’ sector for young people and innovation and technology are even making it better. Awel, who is the executive secretary to the Vice President for Gender and Youth of South Sudan says there is a lot more youth can do, particularly jobs that require a hands-on approach. In these times of recession, thriving financially, emotionally and professionally; not just surviving, young people need to identify areas where their niche is and go after it. As the First Lady, Jeannette Kagame put it, young people have what it takes to rescue the world from the current turmoil caused by all the aforementioned challenges. Here is what the youth can do to thrive. Identify an industry with opportunities Despite the challenges the world is grappling with, some industries are projected to grow despite inflation. Whatever the case, those industries are needed and the world cannot do without them. As mentioned, agriculture is one of them. Many Rwandan youth are finding themselves in the agriculture sector and are taking advantage of the gaps and demand for food and agricultural products for export such as pepper and coffee. Other industries experts say will continue to thrive include education, health care, IT, government and certain portions of the finance sector are all areas worth exploring, according to economists. Make your work standout In the world of technology and the internet, everyone is capable of giving visibility to whatever they do but for you to thrive, you must stand out from the entire crowd. If you are into the service sector, your services should be different. If you provide services such as audio-visual, design and e-commerce, what makes you different from the rest in the market? Is it a quick service? Quality and reliable products? Make yourself visible on social networks and people will simply come your way. Have key skills There are certain skills you need to have to thrive in today’s world and among them is communication and public speaking. If you can’t speak about yourself and what you do, you will forever be in the background. Being tech-savvy and quick to act with technology puts you in a better position to compete favourably as a young person. Innovate, innovate, innovate While they say we cannot reinvent the wheel, there is always one innovation out there that the world needs. It might sound like a cliché but once in a while there is a young person making a breakthrough in the innovation world. Agriculture is one of the areas where innovation remains open. You could be one small innovation away from making a major breakthrough. Whether it is an app that makes farmers easy to access markets, a dairy improvement innovation or a tool that improves yield, there is a lot more to innovate and add value to society. Managing money Managing money is one skill young people take for granted but need so much to succeed in whatever they do. Tomorrow you will hit a huge deal and lose it. You need to have different ideas about money and how to manage it. Most successful people will tell you that they didn’t immediately have all the money they needed in the world but they managed the little they have and multiplied it to be where they are. The temptation to enjoy life is a constant among young people due to society and peer pressure. Cut out the parties and drinking sprees. Don’t splash on expensive things when you are starting off. To succeed in today’s world, you need to become financially literate as quickly as possible to avoid making poor financial decisions that will set you back.