Manal Alshammari - Shabab Mujtamaie
World Youth Skills Day may be annual United Nations event but this year it is probably more important than ever. According to the International Labour Organization, the lowest rates of youth engagement are seen in Northern Africa and the Arab States, where only 27 per cent of young people participate in the labour force. This is not only a sad statistic for today it may also be a disastrous situation for national and global economies in the future.
Without the necessary work experience and skills, young people will not be equipped to rescue the downturn we are currently witnessing and in creating this vicious circle, the world will be a bleaker place without their contribution.
Every company and business needs to ensure they have a youth recruitment, engagement and progression policy where this unused potential can be harnessed and realised. This crippling pandemic may have made this a harder step to take than in more prosperous times, but for now it is an investment that will reap the best long-term dividends.
As a nation which aims to be successful as a society and supportive as a guardian, we must cultivate a desire for young people to work and provide the environment for companies to hire. However difficult these times may be, we have the strength to achieve a more prosperous future for the Kingdom and realise Saudi Vision 2030.
At Alturki we have not waited for a crisis to strike before investing in the youth of Saudi Arabia, we have been proactive in our approach and have always understood that the success of the next generation is not tomorrow’s problem it is today’s action.
As a member of the Saudi branch of Education for Employment, for example, Alturki aims to place young people in the most appropriate positions, providing them with opportunities to fulfil their ambitions while benefitting our economy and community.
As one of the largest employers in the country, our membership of Education for Employment has helped to support and strengthen initiatives across the Arab World through training programmes, employment placement and direct donations to other organisations looking to resolve youth unemployment. Despite the barrier of COVID-19, we have continued to support high priority projects and operations. Just two months ago, Alturki Holdings donated $100,000 to the Education for Employment Catalyst Fund to support many new and existing operations, including online learning, innovation and communications.
I do not list these achievements merely as a source of pride, I list them as an incentive for other businesses to become part of the prosperity and sustainability that lies ahead. As well as marking the official World Youth Skills Day, it is also paramount that with these programmes will instil the youth of today with dignity and hope to reassure them that they are not a forgotten generation but pioneers of the future.
Similarly, as part of the holding company’s social responsibilities activities, the Youth-in non-profit organisation focuses on positive youth development to build a strong, enlightened and visionary generation.
It is not just the young people in our society who need to be visionary, every business in the country also needs to have that vision. Through the inclusion of increased youth employment must see these unprecedented times not as an insurmountable hurdle, but as the ideal opportunity to rebound.