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Empowering Youth for the Jobs of Tomorrow

Updated: Oct 5, 2018

More than half of the jobs of tomorrow don’t exist today and the jobs of today may not be here tomorrow. We move from a time focused on industry and resources into the knowledge era where ideas and innovation are the main source of economic growth. Technology and autonomy are taking over traditional roles. Autonomous trains, driver-less dump trucks, drone surveillance and self-checkouts have changed the landscape of employment forever.

Not knowing where the next wave of jobs will come from, our young people need to be more resilient, more creative and more confident than ever.

In a focus group with leaders across a range of industries, it was discussed that it is not the technical skills that employers are looking for, but the behavioural or foundation skills. Employers want people that can communicate, plan, problem solve and innovate. Business owners and managers are recruiting people that can demonstrate an entrepreneurial mindset. Employees with an entrepreneurial mindset recognise opportunities and see the value of taking risks, enriching the role and having a positive impact on the organisation.

As parents, employers and members of the community we have an opportunity to empower our young people with the skills to launch successful careers. Building confidence, resilience and an understanding of foundation skills will increase the employability of our young people.

We can start with talking to our young people, supporting them to find their stories, examples of their communication skills, how they problem solve, or when they have shown resilience. Being able to recall personal stories to demonstrate a skill shows understanding and allows candidates the opportunity to connect with an interviewer.

We can encourage our young people to build and expand on their experiences and networks. When a lack of experience is the reason young people aren’t gaining employment, experience needs to be sought. This does not have to be paid employment, but could be in any form of education, work experience, volunteerism, sporting or community activity and/or personal experience. Community involvement not only builds confidence, but creates an expanded network of friends, colleagues and contacts. As we know, strong connections are a vital piece of the job seeking puzzle.

In cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset, young people should be encouraged to find something that they are good at and passionate about. Using the energy and enthusiasm of doing something they love, young people are more likely to show initiative and innovation to contribute to a team; seek opportunities to learn and grow and take a can do attitude to get tasks done. This passion will be visible in body language, words and attitude.

There is no doubt that it’s an exciting time for young people who, with the right support, can do or be anything they want to be. Learning, experiencing, developing and being able to articulate stories confidently will most definitely lead to fulfilling employment.

Crystal McGregor is an entrepreneur that works with young people to find their passion. YEP11 is a youth entrepreneur program that supports young people to identify a problem, based on their passion. The program builds an entrepreneurial mindset in young people, along with the confidence and resilience to be whatever they want to be. The program will be rolling out across regional NSW in 2019.

Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

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