The power of a working generation *Image credit: Shutterstock, Inc © Lasse Behnke

The power of a working generation *Image credit: Shutterstock, Inc © Lasse Behnke

There are three major problems facing the youth around the world today: Unemployment, Student Debt and Education.

Whether they’re being called Generation X, Y or something else for that matter, many of today’s youth are defined by these factors. Quite simply, the youth of today could be called ‘Generation Unemployed’, ‘Generation Debt’ or even ‘Generation Uneducated’.

So much so that all over the world there are graduates without work and with the added responsibility of massive student loans hanging over their heads.

In typical fashion, we want to find achievable solutions.

What happened to the right for young people to say, “When I grow up, I want to be a...”
In many instances that right has been taken away, with many school leavers losing the right to choose their own education and career paths. The current economic climate means securing work is a priority, and people need to tie down a job – often at the expense of their childhood dream career.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that about 73-million youth worldwide are looking for work. It was further stated by the ILO in 2010 that 357.7-million youth are not in some form of education and training programme or employment. Sadly, this number could well be growing bigger.
Situations like this create a greater demand for education and employment. This means colleges, universities and companies that are vying for the youth’s attention to grow their set-ups have the power of selection – often being able to hand-pick exactly who they want.
Another good example of the pressure facing the youth is America’s student loan debt, a figure that has risen over the 1-trillion Dollar mark. (Ref. Bloomberg QuickTake - Student Debt by Janet Lorin)  
The circumstances are such that it almost forces young people to find work without the option of choosing what to do and where to do it. Yes, there are always some people who have the luxury of choosing their own careers, but the 73-million people desperately looking for work outweighs this.
So what can people do to change their struggle for education and employment?
1. Work hard and provide employers with the relevant evidence that says you’ll be a valuable asset to their business.  
2. A strong academic performance is one of the best talent currencies an individual can have.
3. Do the research and search for companies and education providers that will benefit your career and you personally.  
4. Be financially stable while funding your education. If you have to work while you study, do so. Negotiate student loans and source possible funding opportunities like scholarships or bursaries.
5. Make yourself a valuable employee.
How can employers and institutions stimulate a better employment talent pool?
1. Grassroots level programmes. Start by educating and convincing scholars about their setups in terms of their study options. For example, what do employers recommend they study, which institutions have strong academic departments that have a history of employment with related companies.  
2. Institutions need to establish better practical sessions to help prepare graduates for the real world.  
3. Corporations need to look for future CEO’s on campuses. They must define the type of employee they want ahead of waiting for applications and define what an employee will need to achieve, instead of only outlining what a company can provide for employees.
A change is needed to give young people the opportunity to choose their own career paths. However, this needs to be done in a way that allows students to be self-sufficient, allowing them to follow their desired career.
*Image credit: Shutterstock, Inc © Lasse Behnke