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The youth – unemployment pains and the age of survival

INTEGRITY BEAT - Henry J. Schumacher (The Freeman) - September 18, 2020 - 12:00am

Looking at my previous columns on the subject of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and realizing that we are still adjusting to the Third Industrial Revolution and have to keep the next wave of changes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in mind, one question comes to mind: Do we have time?

Allow me to share this Buddha statement with you: ‘The trouble is, you think you have time. But there is no time to waste: the past is gone, the future is not here yet and all we have is the present’.

And it suddenly occurred to me that the word ‘present’ also means ‘gift’. The gift of the present moment is the NOW. Essentially the only thing we really possess. Because the past and the future are only concepts existing in our own minds. It is in the present moment where we live, where we are happy, where we create our future.

So what do we have to do in the ‘present’?

Today we are suffering from the effects of the pandemic and the damage the lockdowns have done and are continuing to do to the economy, the industries in the I.C.U., the unemployment, the job seekers from K-12 graduates to college graduates, from people being retrenched to returning OFWs.We see young people being hit especially hard as their jobs dry up and education is interrupted.

Where are efforts needed to address the challenges created by Corvid-19 and the changing nature of work?We need to get these concepts further introduced and funded:

a. Apprenticeship / internship/ dual-tech

b. Enterprise-based learning / learning by doing

c. Entrepreneurship – MakerSpace

d. Up Skilling by industries and government

e. Assistance for K-12 graduates and college graduates

Filipinos are generally resilient and adaptable, but not by choice but more by circumstance. Somehow this has to be captured in the human development framework we are looking at. There are opportunities in Entrepreneurship! More Pinoys become their own bosses, seeing entrepreneurship as the new future. I like all the endeavors to go into e-commerce or starting Sari Sari-stores, but let’s also expand the idea of MakerSpace, guiding people at least in the interim into offering basic services like cleaning, disinfection, cooking, plumbing, tailoring, shoe-repair, carpentry, etc.Other jobs needed are painters, masons, welders and other artisans.

Here is a list of recent entrepreneurial opportunities:

1. Design and delivery of personal protective equipment and face masks,

2. Delivery of farm-to-table food from farmers and their communities,

3. Provision of various kinds of logistics services, thereby providing jobs for riders;

4. Development of mobile apps for mental health and budget tracking,

5. Repacking of groceries for delivery to homes,

6. Preparation of ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals for take-out and delivery,

7. Manufacturing of disinfectants and cleaning materials for home and personal use.

The Department of Agriculture continues to lure younger people and millennials to venture into agriculture through its projects aimed at supporting students and young agripreneurs to start their enterprise. Mentoring, internship and financing for business plans are available.

The Philippines is one of the developing countries that has largely benefitted from the rise of the gig economy. The Philippines is considered as sixth in the world in terms of the fastest growing markets for the gig economy.

But we also have to be honest that educating people for the Future of Work will require drastic changes: Gone are the days when a person’s life trajectory is very structured with carefully laid out plans before them as with the previous generation.

What education should be doing is preparing graduates to navigate the VUCA world; VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. It describes the situation of constant, unpredictable change that is now the norm in certain industries and areas of the business world, which means, it is more and more likely that gone are the days when memorization and specialized skills training is prime. Students need to be comfortable in uncertaintyand be able to understand multiple contexts and analyze it so that they would be able to navigate their future more effectively.

Of course, there are some jobs that will be here to stay (like service jobs in healthcare and hospitality) but even that will require a higher level of thinking and understanding in order to keep up with new machines and technologies.

I really need feedback of what else can be done NOW to provide young people looking at being educated for employment through learning by doing, and college graduates to find a job, so that we provide these ‘tomorrow’ people with the perspective that there is a future for them.

For the needed feedback, you may contact me at hjschumacher59@gmail.com. 

schumacher@eitsc.com

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