In an effort to truly understand young people’s hopes and aspirations for their work futures, YEO 2030 is working with partners to host Youth Dialogues, giving youth an opportunity to express their concerns and plans for the future. In November, the Africa Skills Hub hosted a Youth Dialogue in the city of Accra. Twelve Ghanaian youth were gathered to offer their perspective on the key challenges and barriers to sustainable economic growth and employment for youth in their communities.
When asked about what careers or industries feel harder to access, participants were quick to point out that, in Ghana, finding a job in the public sector is difficult for youth. They noted that having strong networks and professional contacts were critical for employment in this sector.
“Public sectors are closed to the youth,” said one young participant. “I believe as we all know; you have to know someone to work in these areas. Even when you genuinely want to serve your country, it works on [a] ‘whom you know or who knows you’ basis.”
The youth were eager to share the difficulties they faced, but they also showed optimism. They understood that change is slow, but it is possible, and that we all share the responsibility.
At the conclusion of the meeting another youth added, “It beholds on young people to develop themselves…[to] know themselves and their self-worth. Until that happens, nothing will change, and employers will continue to take advantage of vulnerable youth.”
These young Ghanaians were interested in continuing these discussions beyond the meeting, and we are seeing this interest in other YEO 2030 Youth Dialogues. Part of YEO 2030’s mandate is to ensure youth and adults will work together to accelerate sustainable economic growth and employment for all by 2030. For more on YEO 2030, visit YEO2030.org.