Victoria University recently held a public dialogue on youth unemployment and good local governance at their Kampala campus.
The Dialogue organised by Victoria University in partnership with Afro-link International Frontiers Ltd, Actogether and SOMESA Solution took place on Friday 17th June 2016 and was attended by over 300 youth who showed commitment to developing their skills,
Although it was agreed that the youth are willing to start their own business, they have a negative attitude towards self-employment, utilizing technology and especially mobile technology for seeking employment opportunities, they did not also know or understand the attempts of government to develop youth employment programs and are not eager or feel excluded to participate in the policy decisions that impact their lives.
“The youth employment crisis is one of the greatest perils facing the global economy today. Young people around the world – in industrialized, emerging and developing economies alike – face acutely high levels of unemployment, low wages, poor working conditions, and obstructed pathways to economic mobility” says David Kasimbazi Program Coordinator Centre for Urban Governance & Development at Victoria University.
The youth in Uganda want to start and grow businesses, secure employment, learn and apply new skills, contribute to their families and communities, and participate in the decisions that affect their lives but face challenges to attain those dreams.
They face low levels of education and work, inadequate appropriate skills for the job market, precarious and informal work, and social exclusion because of lack of civic knowledge and competencies, limited engagement by state actors while designing youth programs and perception that jobs on market are not for them especially those from university.
The youth do not recognize the skills gap between education and employment. They are not taking proactive steps to develop employment and entrepreneurship skills through volunteering, and accessing skills through mobile and information and communication technology (ICT).
There is also a mismatch and gaps between well-intentioned government youth programs and the youth they are intended to reach because of government not engaging the youth in the decision making process.
The participants agreed that focus should be on income generation, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities and the youth be provided with opportunities to secure financing for new businesses and Skilling youth for the job market.
It was also recommended that, employers offer job-specific training to the youth when they are hired. There is also need for technological advancements and improvements in infrastructure and connectivity, especially in urban areas where the youth are flocking.
Government, private sector and civil society should work with communities to address barriers affecting youth economic opportunities such as gender beliefs, and land ownership practices.
The youth also recommended that, issues to do with youth involvement in decision making and policy formulation and changing of negative perceptions among others be made priority.