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Utilizing the potential of our youth

  • Published at 11:58 pm May 2nd, 2019

With the right will, we can develop the skills and jobs that young people need and deserve

he youth are the future! We have heard this slogan so many times that it has, somewhat, lost its glory. Be it our War of Liberation, the Language Movement, or Digital Bangladesh, we always like to praise our young population. 

However, apart from only praising them, are we really doing enough to utilize their potential in our national life?

With the world facing more challenges now than ever before, what are the tools and lessons we are providing them, in terms of education and job opportunities, so that they may empower themselves? 

As a human resource professional, these questions often occur to me and need some elaboration.

In our country, most of the young people are talented and we believe they are our greatest assets. However, due to the high rate of youth unemployment, we are lagging behind in utilizing them in the national economy. At the same time, the corporate sector is mired with a lack of various kinds of skills. 

The situation seems quite confusing. After having a large number of youth who are eager to work, the corporate sector is still far from getting the right people with the right skill-sets. 

According to the World Bank, more than two billion working-age adults are not equipped with the most essential literacy skills required by employers. Among the young adults under the age of 25, the number is about 420 million worldwide. 

Building a career in the corporate sector mostly depends on three aspects: The will power and skill of an individual, the social eco-system, and the corporate support system. If all these factors work together, it will then be possible to convert the true potential of youth into reality.

Now, let’s focus on the point of individual will. Abraham Lincoln once said: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” 

The statement is very important because the shape of a person’s career mostly depends on his or her personal will power, dedication, and dedication. What I want to achieve in my career primarily depends on me. 

To achieve desired success, one has to define their own career aspirations. If we don’t know where we want to go, how will we get there? 

So, take time to clearly define your aspirations. After that, you have to identify your goals and create your own career plan. 

Goals reflect what you want to accomplish to improve yourself and to move forward. Goals ensure that you are headed in the right direction and help achieve your aspirations efficiently.

Then comes the role of society, family, and teachers. Together, we can call it the support system for getting the right job. The support system can really encourage the youth to follow their passions.  

However, the reality is different in many countries. In most cases, parents still like to pursue their own dreams by pushing their children to become doctors or engineers or the profession they could not pursue themselves. 

Hence, it limits the potential of the youth to explore, excel, and exceed. However, there are hundreds of professions in which a person can be successful. 

If a child has a keen interest in mathematics but the parents push him or her for medical studies instead, then the child will most likely not excel in his or her professional life later on. 

The parents and teachers should help and guide a child to choose his or her passion as a profession rather than dictate their choice of profession.

Our current education system is also failing to provide the proper skill-sets to students. Because of this, when they join a company after their graduation or post-graduation, the companies have to invest again a huge amount of money to orient them to the basic corporate skills. 

I am using the term “again” because the parents have already invested in their child’s education. Because of the shortfall in our education system, the corporate companies are left with no option but to invest in teaching workers what they should have known already. 

These problems are nothing new for us. One might ask why the situation is not changing. It is not changing because of the rigid mentality of our society towards change. The persons who are involved in the whole support system don’t support change. 

Every profession has soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are special by nature while hard skills are common in nature. 

If anyone chooses a profession against his or her will, he or she might miss learning the soft skills of the profession. To learn the special or soft skills, one must have passion for that profession.

If the passion and profession were the same then the story could have been different. 

We all know the success story of Steve Jobs. We all know why he became so successful: Because he had the passion for making computers.

The government and corporate entities have roles to play in capitalizing the true potential of the youth. Reforms in our education system with a long-term vision needs to be implemented. 

By helping the youth to know about required skill-sets for a job, the corporate entities can play their role too.

However, in all cases, the policy-makers must pay heed to the voice of the younger generation. Often it is the young people who understand the measures that will help them adapt in their particular situation. With the right will, we can create policies to develop the skills and jobs that young people need and deserve. 

Md Faisal Imtiaz Khan is the Head of Human Resources at Robi Axiata Ltd.

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