The inaugural Youth Jobs Fair which was held last week in Gaborone was a success, attracting over 1000 participants – the majority of which were unemployed youth. The three day jobs fair witnessed an influx particularly on the second and third day.
According to the Fair’s coordinator, Lillian Moremi, the event attracted over 400 participants on the first and second day. Moremi also explained that they engaged the srvices of a youth run company, Focus Survey, to capture the data – which she expects will in the future become a crucial tool to make deductions on the youth topography.
The Botswana Youth Jobs Fair was targeted at graduates, young professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs, job seekers and students. Apart from trying to disentangle the multifaceted and complex challenge of unemployment in the country, the Fair also proffered ways to tackle the scourge. The deliverables of the Fair included but were not limited to professional orientation of young people, preparation of young people’s entrance into the labour market and matching youth job seekers with the needs of the market. With regard to creating linkages within the labour market between job seekers and private companies, Moremi mentioned that Business Botswana (BB) was roped in to arouse the interest of the companies towards the fair.
The involvement of BB, according to Moremi, is seen as fitting as it is the apex body that represents the business community as its members. She however told this publication that BB’s effort was not reciprocated by its members as was indicated by the very limited participation. The absence of private companies from the fair did not however deter the activities of the fair. The feedback and recommendation exercise that was held on the last day of the fair fielded a majority of positive responses from the participants. One participant gave feedback regarding the absence of the private companies at the fair. She highlighted that she had expected that companies would give out information on jobs on offer and qualifications required by the companies. She observed that the companies that had set up stalls were skewed on marketing themselves than on offering opportunities.
Another participant appreciated the timing of the fair given the state of unemployment in the country and concurred that employers were necessary to also participate in the fair. In making recommendations, a participant suggested that the fair should have a balance of jobs orientation and entrepreneurial training. The fair did however provide various presentations across the subject of entrepreneurship from different industry titans.
The fair was not without challenges particularly that of finances as were shared. She however applauded the active participation of young people despite food not being provided. She highlighted the attendance as a sign of a ‘yearning’ by young people to contribute towards the resolution of joblessness.
Based on the observations of the fair, feedback and recommendations the fair delivered a crucial missing link ÔÇô which is a platform to give young people a voice and the power to make contributions. The fair was organized by seven youth led private and not-for-profit organisations. The collaborative effort of the various youth organisations suggests that young people have the capability to ignite the changes needed in addressing youth unemployment.