Every week in our local newspapers there is an article about the youth and unemployment. Those two words have become synonymous with each other. The youth are unemployed and unemployment is high amongst the youth.
It seems everyone has good intentions when it comes to working with the youth, the recently ended Southern African Development Community, SADC summit had a lot to say about African youths and employment, I hope that translates into results. I have noticed that one of the reasons that unemployment is so high amongst the youth is because there are simply no jobs for them. A lot of graduates are sitting at home with diplomas and degrees, but no posts for them. When an opening does come along, it usually asks for years of experience. That cuts out a large amount of educated and qualified youths for that opening. Older members of society bounce around jobs with the same qualifications and a whole lot more wealth of experience, the playing field is not equal.
The industries are saturated with qualified candidates, for the past ten years or more institutions have been teaching from the same textbooks. There is very little diversification among the knowledge being taught, the youth are trapped cause they can’t think out of the box, because they are programmed and trapped in the textbooks. We preach education is the key only to get it and find out that the locks have been changed or upgraded.
A few weeks ago unemployed graduates were on a strike, I sympathise with them. It is the secondary effects of the strike that really got to me. When something like that happens in our young country, it is usually the innocent youths watching from the outside that really feel the heat. As a student, it’s scary and disheartening to watch someone who studied exactly what you are currently studying go through such an ordeal. It kills the hopes of a better future and makes a person question the labour they put in their studies.
The youth deserve more than empty promises when it comes to job creation, every new project that is announced always seems to bring with it many employment opportunities, but the unemployment rate just seems to get higher with each passing year, something is not adding up. Soon the excuse of ‘doing this for the youth’ will become worn out.
The youth are the driving force of an economy and it would make maximum sense if they were actively involved and reaping the benefits of their labour. The onus lays with our leaders to integrate the youth into the economy and make jobs available for our newly grads!
Say less, think loud!
*Olavi Popyeinawa has a diploma in Alternative Dispute Resolution and is currently studying law, LLB at the University of Namibia (Unam). He will weekly contributing this column on youth mattersInstagram: niceguy_olavi Facebook: Olavi Longfellow Twitter: @OlaviPopyeinawa