Flash of Inspiration no. 7: Youth Employment

Reply on DGroups | 3 comments

05 Oct 2019, 1:41 p.m.

Katrin Ochsenbein

Dear colleagues

Below some reflections and inputs from my side on the proposed discussion points on youth employment:

How does the target group “youth” influence your project design?

A very relevant point was mentioned by our Albanian Colleague (VSD-group) on ensuring to continuously taking the youth perspective into account. It is true, that in many of our project we aim to work for the benefit of young people, however direct interlocutor and projects partner are rarely the youngster themselves.

I recently had an interesting experience in a mid-term review, when precisely for the purpose of hearing the young voice, a panelist was invited to present his view on the current state of development within his country. It was most refreshing to hear him speak directly, in words which are not the ones we are used to hear all the time from our partners or colleagues (e.g. buzz-words, development slang). His main message, by the way, was “Ask us” when you want to help young people. I believe there is real benefit for every organization working on youth employment to get a reality check once in a while.

By doing so, it appears to me that two things are important:
- Apart from hearing out the young people, we should also be very clear about who are these young people. I would imagine that an interaction with a student from the capital Pristina might be very different from the interaction with a NEET in Malishevo.
- When interacting with youngster to get their feedback, I imagine it requires skilled facilitator that can relate to youth; that speaks their language; that can explain well the reason for the interaction. We need to ensure that we have this capacity at our hands.

Do you have experience with group counselling or other new approaches to support young job seekers in finding employment?

Youth employment is a key priority in all the Western Balkan Cooperation Strategies of SDC. Hence, since many years, several development initiatives are implemented to tackle that challenge, mostly by applying an MSD approach. Two of our interesting example are featured in the teaser for this discussion. Another one from North Macedonia was featured in one of the 2019 E+I Newsletter (https://www.shareweb.ch/site/EI/Pages/Content/newsdetail.aspx?ItemID=1211 ) and yet there are other examples in Kosovo and Serbia:

- In Kosovo, our projects promotes the introduction of career guidance in VET schools, in order to help youngster (and parents) to make more informed career choices. While Career Guidance in itself is not a new approach (it however is to Kosovo), the project strategically linked its support also to its piloting of work-based learning activities, thereby increasing the chance of youngster to benefit from real-life work-experience, prior to having to make a choice. http://www.helvetas-ks.org/eye/

- In Serbia, our project’s main target group are NEETs. The project works in several areas to support these youngsters in getting work-experience that should facilitate their integration into the labour market. The innovative aspect is that it uses brokers, such as local youth centers, for linking the young people to local private sector, because such brokers know better who and where this local youth that wants to work is. The broker further apply a call for proposal methodology to make matches in order to ensure sufficient by-in by local level private business. https://znanjemdoposla.rs/en/e2e-for-employers/

A reflection on self-employment as a pathway for youth economic integration: In my view one needs to differentiate among self-employed entrepreneurs and people that are self-employed/entrepreneurs out of need. Experience tells us that it is very difficult to teach someone to become an entrepreneurs as it requires a certain disposition (e.g. innovative spirit, risk-taking, determination, intrinsically driven). While indisputably, young people have very innovative ideas, they often face barriers in reality to put them in practices. Experience in the Balkans shows that as long as the ecosystem in general for entrepreneurs is not sufficiently developed and strong, it is also for young people very difficult (if not more difficult due to lack of experience) to pursue successfully that road. Hence, working on framework conditions remains important.

What future challenges do you see coming in the context of transforming labour markets?

Some reflection/question marks on future challenges in the context of transforming labour market:

Of course the recent World Bank Development report on the future of skills comes to mind. With digitalization being the key word with evident transformative impact on the labour market, we need to make sure that we understand what it a) means in our country and b) for the sectors that we are working in, in order to design relevant interventions. Here I agree, that underlying analysis of our project needs to be strengthened in this regard. (I do not get the point of MSD-project being labour-blind: In the WBA region, many project aim at improving labour market outcome for young people and they do apply a MSD-approach in their implementation. And I would think that when analysis the supporting function of a market transaction, labour as a production factor is looked into in one way or another).

When thinking about future challenge, different working model also comes to mind. With global labour mobility rising, millennials entering labour market, other model than the conventional 8to5 might become more widespread (telework, part-time, job-share). Many jobs today, and many more in the near future, will require specific skills a combination of technological know-how, problem-solving, and critical thinking, as well as soft skills such as perseverance, collaboration, and empathy. Some of these requirements may work to the advantage of the younger generation (e.g. they might be more flexible), others might make young job seekers less attractive because of lack of experience, which is a basis for many of the future skills needed (e.g. problem-solving).

Finally, maybe a particular challenge in the Balkans (but if I understood rightly the colleague from Burkina Faso, not only here): The fact that some societies still have a strong notion of family income makes decision of individuals with regard to their labour market outcome not only dependent on them. Arguments such as increased autonomy, independence might not be relevant. I think, here we are touching about social norms and whether and how to deal with them in our interventions is not quite clear to me.

Best regards,
Katrin

03 Oct 2019, 3:33 p.m.

Bernhard CONILH de BEYSSAC

Thank you again for this opportunity to share ideas and experience.

è How does the target group “Youth” influence your project designs?

Youth are now everywhere in our economic projects. How can we avoid them in Western Africa !? We identified 2 youth economic integration pathways :

1. Self-employment or self-entrepreneurship
2. Employment in existing enterprises

Since we are essential implementing project un rural areas, there are very few employment opportunities and the first pathway is the predominant one. The main “employment pathway” we can support in rural areas are youth employment by cooperatives and some too rare processing businesses. And most of the case this cannot guarantee a full decent job opportunity. Even formal medium and big companies cannot offer full decent jobs and they take advantage of youth unemployment situation to (ab)use them as very long-term interns. In short, in Western Africa, no one can talk about an economic sector that really offer a significant decent employment opportunity, even the public sector. So, what is left? Self-employment and mostly self-entrepreneurship : individually or collectively. Agriculture is the main sector that still offer entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, but our “modern vision” goes exactly the wrong way, since our Western model is a “low labour-intensity agriculture”. We need to revise our vision and we can change our mindset and work on a “high labour-intensity modern agriculture” more in line with smallholder farming that proved to be as efficient and sometimes more efficient, more resilient, more sustainable, more redistributive and more regenerative agriculture than the so called “modern and chemical agriculture”. Are we really thinking that way? Or are we continuing promoting our non-sustainable, degenerative and predatory agriculture model, with those biased concepts of “modernization” and “intensification” and “growth”. Youth are looking for more dignity and autonomy within their household, extended family and community. Dignity is about being able to fulfill my duties, obligations and contribution as a person, depending on my gender, age, capabilities. Autonomy is about contributing to the household and extended family wealth and earning even a bit more to be able to choose my own development and empowerment path or trajectory. Some youth have more obligations and have to contribute more than others, especially women, but this cannot be avoided without making the person even more vulnerable. That is why any employment or entrepreneurial initiative has to be negotiated with the household members, extended family and often with the community : any individual initiative is a collective initiative first ! This make our interventions a it more complex but still useful and well rooted in the social network, that is an essential condition for resilience. In Western Africa, private goods and resources are scarce and must be completed by shared resources, common and public goods.

That is why any project on youth employment or economic integration has to be holistic, integrative and multisectoral, especially when we target young women !

è Do you have experiences with group counselling or other new approaches to support young job seekers finding employment?

What would be the meaning of such groups in rural areas where the youth population is “diluted” in a large territory (low population density)? And when young women can hardly walk too far from home? Any experience of such groups in rural areas?

è What future challenges do you see coming in the context of transforming labour markets?

In Western Africa, and especially in rural areas where still 70 to 80% of the population is, I am not convinced that the concept of “labour market” is relevant (as we usually understand it in our Western vision): there is no real “dialogue” between a very scarce demand and a huge potential offer that do not even see where the demand could come from… The labour demand is spontaneously and mainly communicated within the household or extended family : most of the very small rural businesses are informal family businesses. Should we artificially push for such a concept?

However, I believe that our “value chain development” or “market system development” approaches are totally “labour blind” and there is a big opportunity to improve at analysis, design and implementation levels. Occupational mapping (actual and potential occupations) along a value chain or within market system functions could be more systematic and useful. I will be very interested to share experience on how we could do this.

Bernard CONILH de BEYSSAC
Conseiller Régional Economies Inclusives & Durables - Afrique de l’Ouest
Regional Inclusive & Sustainable Economies Advisor - Western Africa

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De : [Hidden email] <[Hidden email]> De la part de Guido Beltrani
Envoyé : jeudi 3 octobre 2019 14:49
À : SDC e+i network Private Sector Development <[Hidden email]>
Cc : Schneider Nadia EDA SQN <[Hidden email]>
Objet : [privatesectordevelopment] Flash of Inspiration no. 7: Youth Employment

***sorry for cross-posting***

Welcome to the 7th ‘Flash of Inspiration’ from the e+i & CEP F2F 2019 on the topic of Youth Employment.

Stable and high youth employment rates are not only important in economic terms. Whenever young people sustainably master the transition from school to labour market, benefits are expected in many different areas of development cooperation. The topic “Youth Employment” should constantly be addressed and monitored. On our shareweb, we therefore collect relevant studies and inputs. You can find there e.g. reports from e-discussions we conducted and hosted in 2017 <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2Fei%2FPages%2FContent%2FProfiles.aspx%3FSmartID%3D768%26item&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C1%7C637057111607691021&sdata=i%2BJLttUVyeqXa4tRkc7TXogQ9UnMNQeIojGR8NLyk%2BI%3D&reserved=0"> and 2018 <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2FEI%2FPages%2FContent%2FProfiles.aspx%3FSmartID%3D1572%26item1%3D2018-03%2520youth%2520employment%2520promotion&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C1%7C637057111607701017&sdata=KJO46cblDG2uQjMKIGFu24vSiw6Nd4ir5xyjqVsap8E%3D&reserved=0">, as well as from a conference that was co-organised by SDC in February 2019: “Future of Work for African Youth <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2Fei%2FPages%2FContent%2FProfiles.aspx%3FSmartID%3D2184%26item1%3D2019-02%2520The%2520Future%2520of%2520Work%2520for%2520Youth%2520in%2520Africa%2520-%2520International%2520Conference%2520by%2520SDC%2520and%2520ILO&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C1%7C637057111607701017&sdata=i8QyDGaYo7f8TgsE2wYdTuRkCwP%2BMwP6mmz1ex1YCHU%3D&reserved=0">”.

What happened at the F2F e+i & CEP?
During the market stall session at the F2F in Solothurn, the team behind the Youth Employment Project YEP showcased how they collaborate with the public employment services to boost labour market integration of the youth (access all market stall posters <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2FEI%2FPages%2FContent%2FSessionProfile.aspx%3FSessionId%3D191&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C1%7C637057111607711013&sdata=zG%2B08uSp3%2BK2%2BtYbmoGK77jXgi6eNNT8IiaUGB7kYjU%3D&reserved=0">). Partially thanks to YEP, the employment services increased their efficiency by 293%. The project’s group counselling approach (Job Clubs) has been widely adopted by the public employment services (read pdf <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2FEI%2FDocuments%2FVSD%2FAbout%2FProject%2520Portfolio%2520Analysis%2FGOPA%2520-%2520Project%2520description%2520-%2520Job%2520Clubs%2520and%2520group%2520counselling%2520in%2520BiH%2520-%25202018(en).pdf&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C1%7C637057111607721010&sdata=tc%2F0KxrBzZMciZcw%2BMWBI%2FsEox5tSXJNCwxd9cLWIYE%3D&reserved=0">).
[cid:image001.png@01D579FB.D3E01D50] <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2FEI%2FDocuments%2FVSD%2FAbout%2FProject%2520Portfolio%2520Analysis%2FGOPA%2520-%2520Project%2520description%2520-%2520Job%2520Clubs%2520and%2520group%2520counselling%2520in%2520BiH%2520-%25202018(en).pdf&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C1%7C637057111607731005&sdata=nil1SIYLiJ6T2gyZZP2KWxzLRWY8HMTTPKs%2BPsdQQy4%3D&reserved=0">
As another experience, the RisiAlbania team presented how its labour market information initiative has impacted 51,000 young people to change their behaviour around employment (career and education choice). RisiAlbania supports media partners to develop and disseminate media products with focus on career guidance. Media partners are bringing information on careers in suitable formats and broadcasting for a broad public including youth and parents (read pdf <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2FEI%2FDocuments%2FVSD%2FPrivate%2520Sector%2520Participation%2FSDC%2520-%2520Case%2520Study%2520-%2520Risi%2520Albania%2520Inspiring%2520and%2520influencing%2520the%2520young%2520job%2520seekers%2520of%2520Albania%2520-%25202016(en).pdf&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C1%7C637057111607731005&sdata=150Kl2q2w3GhvQeOSXaYf%2FqakB5mXozRgG2QezS2tTk%3D&reserved=0">).

Youth employment was also addressed at the F2F organised by the Focal Point Education in May 2019 (see slides <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2FEducation%2F_layouts%2F15%2FWopiFrame.aspx%3Fsourcedoc%3D%2Fsite%2FEducation%2FDocuments%2FEvents%2F2019-05%2520F2F%2520Education%2FD3pm_group2.pptx%26action%3Ddefault&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C1%7C637057111607741004&sdata=6ttYSiEa4iPWFovg5qAbEDLGhowsLfONsYPQq2KWdD8%3D&reserved=0"> and workshop results as pdf <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2FEducation%2FDocuments%2FEvents%2F2019-05%2520F2F%2520Education%2FD3pm_group%25202_social-inclusion-of-youth.pdf%3Fweb%3D1&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C1%7C637057111607751000&sdata=voU6petHRbUQycRABgD467QGiC%2Bl9w5wSjh7B%2BVqkNk%3D&reserved=0">).

Sharing is caring!
Please share your experiences and thoughts:

è How does the target group “Youth” influence your project designs?

è Do you have experiences with group counselling or other new approaches to support young job seekers finding employment?

è What future challenges do you see coming in the context of transforming labour markets?

If you have any technical issues, please contact Annick Vollmar (annick.vollmar@helvetas.org <mailto:[Hidden email]>). Please note that access to the event documents is limited to registered e+i Shareweb Users. Please click here to register <https: eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com="" ?url="https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shareweb.ch%2Fsite%2Fei%2FPages%2Fcontent%2FPages.aspx%3FSmartID%3D2226%26item1%3Dnetwork-registration&data=02%7C01%7Cbernard.conilhdebeyssac%40helvetas.org%7Ccd86092c83b74cd754f508d7481155d2%7C060d649d2c9344d28200a3eb9f3c4160%7C0%7C0%7C637057111607751000&sdata=5TaBWBa2ukfOqaPD4G0AqQkV%2B3ewWdh2P32C1nf8IOQ%3D&reserved=0">.

From now on, the flashes will be published weekly.

Best regards,
Guido Beltrani

Dr Guido Beltrani
Head of sectorial policy
Employment & Income │Engagement with the Private Sector│

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA │ Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC │ Division Latin America and the Caribbean │
Freiburgstrasse 130, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 480 19 81

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03 Oct 2019, 2:50 p.m.

Guido Beltrani

***sorry for cross-posting***

Welcome to the 7th ‘Flash of Inspiration’ from the e+i & CEP F2F 2019 on the topic of Youth Employment.

Stable and high youth employment rates are not only important in economic terms. Whenever young people sustainably master the transition from school to labour market, benefits are expected in many different areas of development cooperation. The topic “Youth Employment” should constantly be addressed and monitored. On our shareweb, we therefore collect relevant studies and inputs. You can find there e.g. reports from e-discussions we conducted and hosted in 2017 <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" ei="" pages="" content="" profiles.aspx?smartid="768&item"> and 2018 <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" ei="" pages="" content="" profiles.aspx?smartid="1572&item1=2018-03%20youth%20employment%20promotion">, as well as from a conference that was co-organised by SDC in February 2019: “Future of Work for African Youth <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" ei="" pages="" content="" profiles.aspx?smartid="2184&item1=2019-02%20The%20Future%20of%20Work%20for%20Youth%20in%20Africa%20-%20International%20Conference%20by%20SDC%20and%20ILO">”.

What happened at the F2F e+i & CEP?
During the market stall session at the F2F in Solothurn, the team behind the Youth Employment Project YEP showcased how they collaborate with the public employment services to boost labour market integration of the youth (access all market stall posters <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" ei="" pages="" content="" sessionprofile.aspx?sessionid="191">). Partially thanks to YEP, the employment services increased their efficiency by 293%. The project’s group counselling approach (Job Clubs) has been widely adopted by the public employment services (read pdf <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" ei="" documents="" vsd="" about="" project%20portfolio%20analysis="" gopa%20-%20project%20description%20-%20job%20clubs%20and%20group%20counselling%20in%20bih%20-%202018(en).pdf="">).
[cid:image001.png@01D57A0A.A80CF220] <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" ei="" documents="" vsd="" about="" project%20portfolio%20analysis="" gopa%20-%20project%20description%20-%20job%20clubs%20and%20group%20counselling%20in%20bih%20-%202018(en).pdf="">
As another experience, the RisiAlbania team presented how its labour market information initiative has impacted 51,000 young people to change their behaviour around employment (career and education choice). RisiAlbania supports media partners to develop and disseminate media products with focus on career guidance. Media partners are bringing information on careers in suitable formats and broadcasting for a broad public including youth and parents (read pdf <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" ei="" documents="" vsd="" private%20sector%20participation="" sdc%20-%20case%20study%20-%20risi%20albania%20inspiring%20and%20influencing%20the%20young%20job%20seekers%20of%20albania%20-%202016(en).pdf="">).

Youth employment was also addressed at the F2F organised by the Focal Point Education in May 2019 (see slides <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" education="" _layouts="" 15="" wopiframe.aspx?sourcedoc="/site/Education/Documents/Events/2019-05%20F2F%20Education/D3pm_group2.pptx&action=default"> and workshop results as pdf <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" education="" documents="" events="" 2019-05%20f2f%20education="" d3pm_group%202_social-inclusion-of-youth.pdf?web="1">).

Sharing is caring!
Please share your experiences and thoughts:

è How does the target group “Youth” influence your project designs?

è Do you have experiences with group counselling or other new approaches to support young job seekers finding employment?

è What future challenges do you see coming in the context of transforming labour markets?

If you have any technical issues, please contact Annick Vollmar (annick.vollmar@helvetas.org <mailto:[Hidden email]>). Please note that access to the event documents is limited to registered e+i Shareweb Users. Please click here to register <https: www.shareweb.ch="" site="" ei="" pages="" content="" pages.aspx?smartid="2226&item1=network-registration">.

From now on, the flashes will be published weekly.

Best regards,
Guido Beltrani

Dr Guido Beltrani
Head of sectorial policy
Employment & Income │Engagement with the Private Sector│

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA │ Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC │ Division Latin America and the Caribbean │
Freiburgstrasse 130, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 480 19 81