Young people as Job creators

Jan Owen, the CEO of Foundation of Young Australians writes about the need to focus (subs req) on the young people and their challenges and opportunities. This is especially important in the context of the discussion around the intergenerational report in Australia.

Yes, we will have more older people. Yes, there will be more challenges. But at the same time there is a huge force coming out of the schools and universities in a world which is very different from even a decade back.

Jan suggests that the future of these young people should not be unemployment but entrepreneurship and innovation. We need to enable them to create jobs rather than apply for them. It’s an inspirational change if framing of the problem of youth unemployment coupled with the way the world is changing and a how to towards a solution.

This requires a change in the way we think about education but more importantly giving the young people a sense of control over their life. The future of work is not large corporations with lots of jobs. It’s Me Inc. It’s the ability to create value and make a business out of it.

Steve Blank and Eric Ries has provided a framework to teach entrepreneurship to anyone. I have learned it myself and focussing on making the public and social sectors more entrepreneurial. My next step is University.  Jan suggests there is a need to go further down the chain. To schools.

This is where the government’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship must come in. There is clear acknowledgment this is the way of the future, but we’re not engaging in the conversation with young people about how to ensure they are ready for it.

We don’t have a system that encourages and develops young entrepreneurs. Even the Reserve Bank has identified the need for this. When the government talks about innovation, entrepreneur­ialism and competition, its focus should be on young Australians. Young Australians were left out of the Intergenerational Report but there is no way they can be left out of this country’s future.


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