Our kids are growing up in challenging social and economic environments. Population increase, automation, globalization, economic slowdown, disruptive technologies and outsourcing are just a few of the factors driving the current seismic shifts in how the careers and economic landscape operate. The nature of work is evolving rapidly, with the ranks of so-called “contingent workers” growing fast. It’s been estimated that just five years from now, a huge portion of the workforce, especially ‘white collar’ and knowledge professionals, will be freelancers, part-timers, contract workers, or otherwise self-employed.
Employment opportunities are limited and high rates of unemployment amongst young people present challenges not only for the youth themselves but also for their families and society in general. Africa has the youngest population in the world. There are an estimated 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 on the African continent which it is expected to double by 2045. The large numbers of young people joining the labour force every year are putting great pressure on already crowded job markets.
How must we prepare our children for these realities? Part of the answer is that we as parents need to raise kids with an entrepreneurial mind-set — a skill that is increasingly important as young people must become less dependent on the formal job market and fend more and more for themselves in a crowded, harsh world, and as the freelance economy grows.
Given all these realities we introduced the Licence to Lead programme for Grade 10-12 learners. The programme equips learners with specific attributes that will promote employability, workplace readiness and /or the ability to start their own businesses. The idea is that you need to obtain a “licence” and get the know-how to be the driver of your own life. From there you can go out and be a leader in your family, amongst friends, in society and at work. Learners explore 13 attributes (over 26 weeks) that are essential for the world of work and business and they are taken out of their comfort zones, pushed to expand their boundaries, get to know themselves better, grow, learn and most importantly have fun. At the same time, kids are exposed to their interested field of work through holiday internships, job shadowing, and industry-specific expert mentoring. Learners build a portfolio of evidence (POE) of how they are engaging with the attributes through feedback from mentors and supervisors. Learners keep this and it serves as a reference when applying for a job or study course.