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General Job Creation Approaches
While each job creation programme is unique, there are five common approaches to youth employment and empowerment. The most successful initiatives often use a combination of these approaches in order to provide more comprehensive services. From governments to corporations, non-profits to schools, these approaches are tailored to a variety of contexts and locales. These are their broad definitions.
A network is any forum that allows young people to access support systems, communicate with one another or connect with potential employers or funders. For youth employment purposes, these networks can be web-based message boards or major events like career days or summits. Many networks exist for entrepreneurs to support one another, receive advice or access potential investors. To empower young people, networks can also promote discussion and action for specific themes, such as environmental issues or labour policy changes. Meanwhile, networks on a more local scale aim for social inclusion, so young people can connect with their communities.
Training programmes address the skills gap by supplementing educational systems with the knowledge and experience required for professional success. This eases the school-to-work transition and increases employability. These programmes are either independently executed or incorporated into school systems as extracurricular activities. Two main forms of training initiatives have been identified for this guide: entrepreneurial training programmes, which target aspiring entrepreneurs by teaching financial literacy, business management and leadership; and general skills training programmes, which can cover anything from job hunting and CV writing techniques to more vocational, sector-specific learning, such as Informational and Communication Technology (ICT). Many training programmes offer official certification upon completion.
Financial support programmes also fall into two categories: those that offer scholarships or fellowships for educational or professional purposes and those that fund aspiring entrepreneurs. Considering the reluctance of banks to provide loans to young people, these programmes provide seed money to get enterprise ideas off the ground. An application process involving at least a pitch, business plan or prototype is usually required. These programmes may require application fees or a portion of the business’s earnings. Some initiatives offer access to a workspace and equipment as well.
This approach gives young people the chance to access career counsellors or business professionals for advice. By having a mentor or coach, struggling job hunters or budding entrepreneurs can receive guidance on coping with challenges, developing a better understanding of the market and possibly benefit from the mentor’s own list of contacts. Stipulations regarding the mentor-mentee relationship vary depending on the programme.
Job placement initiatives include general employment services and work placements, such as jobs, internships, traineeships, apprenticeships, etc. These initiatives connect young people with employers, fund work placements for a set amount of time or simply help with a young person’s job search.