Thursday, April 15, 2021
Tech

Do the youth “Have It” ?

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The theory of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), in which companies tap into the power of technology to empower their staff to be productive from anywhere, anytime, using any mobile device, has become a reality for many in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet for many South Africans the internet data and skills needed to progress at a pace that matches the rapid change can be a challenge.

While data and technological challenges remain obstacles, this forced online migration can present an amazing opportunity for youth and businesses to tap into cross-country youth skill sets and their aptitude for technology to deliver on their remote work obligations and uplift their communities. Opportunities such as IT support, data engineering, graphic design, social media, digital channel management, and content development truly support remote work. In order to tap into these opportunities, our approach to up-skilling needs to be reshaped.

The youth have many of the technological skills that allow them to grasp a faster adaptation of tech, that allows greater global connections and bridges the gap between members within communities, communities themselves and the world. Even against this backdrop, the question that still remains is how do we emphasise the importance of community in a young person’s journey of growth and search for opportunities?

Alana Bond Co-Founder of Lucha Lunako™ suggests the following: “A mindset shift to embracing the community within which you live, work, play and learn is as important as self-development and skills development for the youth. Within this category of community awareness and development, the ability to form a connection with others and strengthen positive bonds and relationships with people in various contexts (i.e., communities or the workplace) is vitally important.”

Who possesses the skills to provide solutions to community problems? “You have it”

While Lucha Lunako™ believes that the first step in their established youth development framework, is developing a sense of self and the belief in the self ‘I have it’. The second component involves a sense of community and those around you i.e. ‘You have it’ and then lastly ‘youth have it’ which focuses on development in the work sphere and broader life context. The main objective of the ‘You have it’ pillar is to foster healthy relationships with self and others, understanding and appreciating others’ feelings, understanding and appreciating other’s experiences within their frame of reference, civic contribution and awareness, and having and leveraging social capital.

This helps impart a great number of skills, particularly 21st Century skills the youth would require within the modern workplace, not only within the emergent context of remote working, but also within a conventional workplace environment. These skills include the ability to work collaboratively, to network, social and cultural awareness, public speaking and presenting.

Moreover, many successful entrepreneurial ventures both locally and internationally have been born from a start-up providing a solution to a community problem. For instance, Keletso Lekwakwe wanted to assist early development centres and primary schools within his community by developing safety precautions ensuring only authorised personal are allowed to pick up children from school. He developed a child safety app called PasswordKid (PkidMyChild),  to address the problem. With PasswordKid, parents and guardians nominate someone to collect their children from school and have to provide the ID number of these designated persons to the school. These designated persons will then have to present their ID at the school to be scanned in order to verify that they are the authorised person to collect the child/ren and will also need to provide a one-time password that he/she got from the parent/guardian as a two-way authentication measure.

This app resulted in him winning the pitching den competition at Uber’s 2020 Tech for Safety Summit, which will see him obtain start-up support for his business venture.

“Examples like these illustrate that through the approach of ‘You have it’, the youth can take their own personal development to the next level beyond individual skills development, to tackling problems. From personal problem solving to identifying a service that is lacking or needs improvement within their respective communities. This may enable a young to not only find work and build a career, but also encourages them to start their own businesses, through which they can provide employment to more of their peers and by so doing, impact more lives, the economy, and development of the country. This will ultimately, empower them to live up to their tremendous potential,” concludes Bond.

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