It is high time mentorship efforts started focusing more on developing learners while they are still in college to prepare them for the world of work. The usual wait to start real mentorship after they have graduated is a whole stage too late, dealing a heavy blow on industry efforts like a fall off the cliff edge.
Youth Despair and Cliff Edge Experience
The International Mentors Day was celebrated on January 17, 2021. The following reflections can do justice to such an important day in the present and future of youth.
Mentorship remains a priceless endeavour, a genuine call to be a multiplier of the little one possesses in return for a lifetime of rewarding experience that goes on to outlive the giver, impacting generation after generation.
Youth aged below 25 make up 40% of the global population. In Africa, 40% is aged under 15. An estimated 80 million youth aged 15–24 are unemployed. Graduating from college has for long lost its former glee as an immediate promise for better life and effective living. Like falling off the cliff edge, growing cases of gloom follow graduation as the masses get resigned to joblessness and despair. Cases of suicide and acts of violence, some tragic, have also been noted to be on the rise as schools opened after the closures in 2020 occasioned by COVID-19. Frustrations among the youth and young unemployed graduates are a major part of the explanation for this worrying situation.
Mentorship for Transversal Skills
It doesn’t have to be that way. With adequate preparedness and mentorship while still in college, we can change the narrative. Education 4.0 is the new instructional paradigm that utilises modern digital tools and platforms to transform training and mentor a new generation of thinkers, solution finders, and responsible global citizens with transversal skills.
Opportunities for, and interest in, empowering youth for career development and career security have increased in the COVID-19 era. The digital transformation wave is increasing the appeal of remote working and raising the share of the gig economy. Job security is fleeting in a world where being jobless must not mean being workless. Loyalty to one employer or job is also fleeting. Today’s youth will stay on a job for 2–3 years and then jump to another job. Yes, it is about career security, not job security anymore.
Hurdles and Rewards in a Democratised Work Environment
The millennials and Gen-Zers can tap into the ready empowerment and investment opportunities in the new democratised post-pandemic work environment. The hurdles and rewards for making the difference are higher, though. The penalties are disproportionately higher for the youth who will retain the same old habit of pursuing paper qualifications without work-ready skills. The rewards are disproportionately greater for the few youth who will be diligent at acquiring the most-needed market skills and staying on course in an empowering mentorship programme.
Magnetic Self-Driven Transformation
Digital fluency is no longer an option for university students who are self-driven, craving to impact the world as they get transformed by that very passion and vision to outdo themselves in excellent service delivery on a daily basis. Excellence rewards excellence. Success is not to be pursued, but to be attracted by the magnetism of a transformed mindset.
This is why as a special initiative for the beginning of the new year, Impact Borderless Digital (IBD) will focus more on university students through their organised academic associations. The emphasis will be on the top skills they need to develop and master while on campus to avoid the cliff-edge experience. The student leaders of organisations focused on social innovation such as Enactus need to sensitise their members on such mentorship opportunities. IBD will be announcing such student-focused forums regularly throughout the year, beginning January 18, 2021. Be on the lookout!