New Generation Citizens
Winter is here! And with the coming of Winter, we have also started accepting applications for our Business Growth Program.
However, we are not going to focus on the Business Growth Program in this blog. Rather, we want to talk about SOS Children’s Villages, for whom we have recently completed an exciting project. We were requested by SOS’ Youth Programmes division to conduct and facilitate a Career Guidance and Entrepreneurship Training Workshop on the 9th and 10th of July 2020. The main aim of the workshop was to empower young people by improving their soft skills and employability, and introduce them to the art of Human Centred Design and entrepreneurship.
With the deliverables clearly defined, we developed an experiential and interactive learning curriculum. This “learning by doing” methodology is deeply embedded into our programs.
The objectives of the trainings were as follows:
- Introduce leadership concepts and other critical soft and transferrable skills for any young person going into adulthood
- Facilitate personality tests that will help each young person understand their strengths
- Provide insight about the different ‘jobs of the future’
- Highlight the different career paths young people can take
- Understand what skills and knowledge are required for the various career options
- Understand entrepreneurship and the importance of creating value
- Understand money and how to create & preserve wealth
- Learn how to work well with others in a team
On the first day, we focused on the soft and transferable skills vital for young people preparing for an independent life in the labour market. Interactive sessions were held on leadership styles with specific emphasis on servant leadership and its relationship to the entrepreneurial journey. To cement self-awareness and confidence we carried out an activity that explored their individual personality traits and how to best embrace and use those traits as an independent adult. This then leaped into career planning and curriculum vitae writing in order to appeal to an employer with a template being provided for later use. Emphasis was put on how to conduct one-self in an interview through interactive activities that focused on body language, dress code and mannerisms.
After the soft and transferable skills session, in a bid to advise our cohort on different career options and jobs of the future, six professionals from six different sectors gave a presentation about labour market needs, and the trends and the opportunities available in each of the 6 sectors. Taking into consideration the changing nature of the job market, we informed our beneficiaries where the market is heading to prepare them for the opportunities that will arise. Contacts were exchanged, networks were built. We ended the day by exploring how networks are built and nurtured through events, social media and professional circles.
The second day of the workshop was focused entirely on entrepreneurship. Based on the needs of the future for work, young people will benefit from having an entrepreneurial mindset to navigate the labour market, innovate and solve problems. Therefore, Day 2 started off with the characteristics of an entrepreneur and why they are important in one’s entrepreneurial journey. To introduce Human Centred Design principles, we asked our cohort to “Design the Ideal Schoolbag Challenge”, which emphasised the importance of empathy in problem solving. This was all in a bid to show them that the success of an entrepreneur was based on one’s ability to come up with solutions that solve problems from the perspective of the user.
After the design challenge, we went through the infamous “business model canvas” and discussed problem identification, value creation, knowing your customer, establishing customer relationships & channels, defining resource requirements, setting milestones, calculating costs, and understanding funding options. Yet again the BMC proved its efficacy in interconnecting the different aspects of running a business in a focused manner.
To understand one’s business and run a successful business our cohort was introduced to the concept of managing accounts, understanding profit and loss, and the power of saving and investing. The saving and investing segment placed an emphasis on the importance of creating wealth to cement sustainability and consistency into the young people’s minds.
Whether the young people decide to follow the employability pathway or the entrepreneurial pathway, perseverance, resilience and hard work are needed. Therefore, the workshop ended with a viewing of “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind” to show that even in adversity there is opportunity. For us, this workshop showed us that there is a need to provide opportunities such as these to young people across Africa in order to build a continent of young people who make informed decisions on which career path to take, whether in a corporate setting or as entrepreneurs.