Meet Your Weekly Moderators:

 

Sarah Huxley, Lead moderator

Sarah Huxley has been passionately and actively engaged in youth focused development work since 1999. She has worked for a range of organistaions including small NGOs, international agencies, DFID and the UN. Much of her work has involved designing and implementing projects, programme management and policy research in Nepal, Uganda & the UK. Sarah's special areas of interest and expertise include participation, youth policy, gender, education and protection.

Week 4: Luis David Sena, Youth Delegate

Luis David Sena, 24 years old, is the Senior Market Risk Specialist in the Division of Risk and Research Department of the Superintendence of Banks of Dominican Republic. Luis was also recently selected as the Youth Delegate of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations. Among his goals is to contribute to the training of young Dominican leaders. Luis obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, and has significant volunteer experience with international non-profit organizations.

Welcome by the weekly moderator, Luis David Sena

Welcome to the fourth week of our e-discussion on youth employment! The last three weeks have sought to understand the current job situation and trends, the educational needs of young people, and youth experiences around the world of searching for a job.

Our aim this week is to gather voices of young people in relation to your experiences at work. We have learned about the global challenge of employing youth, but certainly, those who have succeeded in getting a job also have stories to share!

According to the ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth: 2011 Update, being in employment does not necessarily mean having a decent job. Rather, the majority of young people in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are trying to make a living at whatever job they can find, most often working long hours, under poor conditions and in the informal economy. There are by far more young people around the world who are stuck in circumstances of working poverty than are without work and looking for work. According to the latest ILO estimates, in the 52 countries with available data, youth accounted for 23.5% of the total working poor, compared with only 18.6% of non-poor workers.

This week we want to hear about your experiences regarding working conditions, opportunities for advancement, and how your job impacts your family life and well-being. In addition, we seek your stories about working in the informal economy; your opinions about green jobs; and your philanthropic endeavors.

Don’t forget that your voice may contribute to the fourth chapter of the forthcoming online 2011 World Youth Report. Please indicate in each of your responses: the question number which you are addressing, your name, age, gender, where you come from and your organization (if any).

Lastly, I would like to thank the United Nations Programme on Youth for giving Youth Delegates the opportunity to participate in this amazing forum! Many thanks, Luis.


La version française du message de bienvenue du moderateur hebdomadaire se trouve dans la section réservée aux commentaires ci-dessous.
La versión española del mensaje de bienvenida del moderador semanal esta en la sección reservada a los comentarios situada más abajo.

Weekly Key Questions

Days & Themes

Questions

Tue

Youth entrepreneurship

Gaps in decent work

1) In your country, can you provide any current examples of how young people are approaching – and faring in – entrepreneurial activities?

For example: self employment/ cooperatives/ microfinance/ starting a business?


2) In your view, when it comes to gaps in decent work for young people, what are some of the major issues facing them - is it working conditions, worker rights and/or income concerns, or perhaps something else?

 

Wed

Opportunities for advancement 

Informal economy

3) In your current job, what are the opportunities for advancement (including recognising leadership and innovation)?

For example: Are there opportunities for further training? Wage increases? Grants? Online learning? Collaborative platforms?


4) Share with us your personal experiences of working in the informal economy. What have been the benefits and the challenges?

For example: as a domestic worker; in tourism (e.g. handicrafts); in traditional technology; in subsistence agriculture; as a street vendor; or in mining.

Thurs

Recommendations for youth at work

Family life and well-being

5) If you were the Chief Executive of a large foundation, where would you spend your money in order to increase and improve youth employment, both within and beyond your organisation?
For example, what are your recommendations for youth at work?

6) How have your job and working conditions affected your family life and well-being, including your relationships with parents and siblings and/or your own children and spouse; age of marriage and starting a family; living arrangements; etc.?
For example, has your job – or joblessness – impacted your health? Do you provide any care-giving roles at home in addition to working?

Fri

Green jobs

Philanthropic jobs

7) How are you promoting and raising awareness about green jobs?
For example: what are you doing in relation to Rio+20? How do you think jobs in the emerging green economy will benefit youth?

8) Are you involved in any philanthropic work (giving back to your community)? If so, tell us about it!


The Week 4 discussion is now CLOSED. It is no longer possible to add new comments, but check out the homepage to contribute to the current discussion. For those of you who have not had time to read all of the comments from the week, please find a summary of the discussion below, which is also available here in a PDF version.

Week 4 Summary

There were more than 180 comments received on the topic of ‘youth at work’ from all corners of the world, including, from Jordan, Kenya, Uganda and Italy. Below is a summary of the main points shared:

1) Can you provide any current examples of how young people are approaching – and faring in – entrepreneurial activities?

• Young people own businesses in the field of advising and consultancy, businesses such as building websites, as well as social are creating employment for Youth (Netherland)
• The Federal government in Canada has established theCanadian Youth Business Foundation which offers young entrepreneurs aged 18-34 years old mentorship, learning resources and start-up financing. Since 2002, the Foundation has helped young Canadians start over 4000 businesses and created 18000 jobs.
• Using ICTs to promote education and impact community through small grants opportunities for young people such as a youth-led organization giving online courses on Millennium Development Goals and giving small grants to young people to implement MDGs projects in their communities (Pakistan)
• A lot of young people are not able to start an entrepreneurship venture because of lack of information and education on complex administrative procedures, and the precariousness of the banking sector.
• Youth have a great role in the thriving of the private sector in any economy. In Ghana, lots of graduate youths are starting their own companies especially in ICT and are making great strides.
• The bottlenecks associated with entrepreneurship-finance, office space, tax requirements; should be addressed proactively.

2) When it comes to gaps in decent work for young people, what are some of the major issues facing them - is it working conditions, worker rights and/or income concerns, - or perhaps something else?

• There is a lack of confidence in young people.
• Issues facing young people at the workplace include: lower income and uncertainty about long term prospects.
• Young people are mostly hired on short-term contracts and not given preference for fixed term or longer secured contracts/jobs.
• One of the main challenges in countries is that youth lack what employers consider "practical experience”. To combat this education institutes and universities should incorporate practical experience, such as starting cooperative education elements in each program.
• Unpaid Internships are satisfying for some youth as they provide long term benefits and opportunities.
• One of the most effective ways to solve the unemployment problem is the creation of small and middle enterprises.
• Business development loan schemes are very hard to access for young people, acquiring technical knowledge is difficult without proper guidance and backing.

3) In your current job, what are the opportunities for advancement (including recognizing leadership and innovation)?

• Opportunities to attend national and international conferences
• Employed youth dissatisfied with lack of opportunities for advancement at workplace, young people feel stagnant because of lack of exposure or promotional opportunities.
• Young people can develop leadership through receiving benefits such as on the job training, and in the long-run higher wages.

4) Share with us your personal experiences of working in the informal economy. What have been the benefits and the challenges?

• Unemployment is a major factor in why young people are moving towards drugs and violence.
• Activities such as promoting peace outreach to communities and schools (in Kenya) have been effective in combating violence.
• As a domestic worker, lack of trust by the owner of the place hinders a proper work relationship between an employer and employee.
• For street vendors, major challenges include health related issues.

5) If you were the Chief Executive of a large foundation, where would you spend your money in order to increase and improve youth employment, both within and beyond your organization?

• Provide employment opportunities to young people to gain local skills such as employment through silk production. Silk production is providing free plants, and financial support to tribal farmers (Chindwara District, India).
• Invest in social businesses led by and focused on employing young people
• Invest money in improving community relations and employment opportunities for young graduates
• Provide field specific scholarships for college and university students
• Invest in a strong internship program that would recruit new graduates e.g. the Ontario government has a highly selective and popular two-year internship program: young people get to work with Ontario Ministries at the end of the internship (Canada)

6) How have your job and working conditions affected your family life and well-being?

• Due to lack of jobs, most of the jobs young people are taking are to fulfill their income gap, for example there is an increasing trend in Nigerian culture, large number of people take up jobs that are not in any way related to what they studied.
• Young people living with their parents do not always pay rent; this has made young people save money for educational opportunities.
• Young people are content if given work they like doing, money becomes secondary in this case.

7) How are you promoting and raising awareness about green jobs?

• Jobs in the emerging green economy will benefit youth because they can bring in significant income e.g. mushroom farming, & bee keeping. Another upcoming market is the farming of medicinal herbs and trees in Nepal.
• In relation to Rio+20 the World Esperanto Youth Organization in Italy co-authored a document to help to guide the compilation of the zero-draft of the outcome final document.
• Create online blogs and columns, such as the Sustainable Development Column, which discusses and highlights development issues.

8) Are you involved in any philanthropic work (giving back to your community)?

• Organizations such as the Uganda National Youth Empowerment Network are promoting small business development through training vulnerable youth especially young girls in handicrafts and ICT skills.

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