In South Africa, the youth population represents a significant demographic, full of untapped potential and energy. However, unemployment rates among the youth remain alarmingly high. Small businesses have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact by actively employing and empowering young individuals.
What role can small businesses play?
Hire young people
Small businesses can play a crucial role in providing job opportunities. By embracing youth employment, small businesses not only contribute to economic growth but also nurture future leaders and innovators. The reality is that it is our youth who have insights into the U35 market. They bring valuable perspectives, fresh ideas, and technological proficiency that older generations can benefit from.
Create mentorship programs within your small business to foster learning and growth for young employees. This does not have to be formalised to make a difference. Pair them with experienced staff members who can guide, support and share their expertise. This way young people gain exposure to the world of work and so build their confidence.
Offer skills development and training
We cannot expect people to learn skills if we are not prepared to offer training. Offer skills training and educational opportunities. This can include internships, apprenticeships, or partnering with educational institutions. By equipping young individuals with practical skills and industry knowledge, you empower them to contribute effectively to the success of your business. We underestimate the power of job shadowing and ‘each one, teach one’.
Provide growth opportunities
Offer opportunities for promotions, increased responsibilities, and professional development. By demonstrating a commitment to their growth, you inspire young employees to remain engaged and motivated. A small business may not be able to offer the perks and promotion ladder of a large organisation, but the opportunity to become involved in varied tasks and projects has its own appeal.
Foster a positive work culture
Create an inclusive and supportive work environment that values diversity and encourages collaboration. Celebrate achievements and recognise the efforts of young employees. Encourage teamwork and create platforms for idea-sharing to foster innovation. What they lack in experience, they make up for in creativity and fresh thinking.
Read more for more information on how to create a happier work environment.
Collaborate with educational institutions, youth organisations, or government initiatives that focus on youth employment. Building partnerships can broaden your talent pool and strengthen your commitment to youth empowerment.
Leverage technology to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and engage young employees who are tech-savvy. Encourage young employees to contribute their insights and ideas on how technology can benefit the business.
Empowering South African youth through employment in small businesses is a win-win situation. Embrace the potential of the youth, invest in their development, and witness the positive impact they can make in your small business and beyond.
How is your small business unlocking the potential of youth in your small business?
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