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By Shannae Trotz
“Attend school and take in your education, so that you could be qualified enough to get a good job”, they say. So we attended school for about 11 years aiming to pass five subjects with the inclusion of Maths and English. Some of us even attended college for an extra 2-4 years to be more qualified, only to be greeted with requirements that demand 2-5 years’ experience.
The question is, how can we garner the experience if you do not hire us? Throughout my high school years I’ve heard teachers and grown folks emphasise how important it is for us to pass CSEC so we won’t end up “sliding bus doors” or “selling water in the hot sun” but do you know what these people have that many qualified youths lack? A job.
Moreover, we often hear the chant “the youths are our future” though presently we’re being hindered and denied opportunities that will take us down that road. This is an issue that affects both the public and private sector, but when we take our human resource to sustain another nation, one which values our skills, we make the news with detailed statistics highlighting our race, district, school/college, field of study, age etc. and how us leaving to pursue a better life “cripples the economy”. What does the statistics teach us as a country? It seems nothing, since the number continues to sky rocket year in year out. They pay foreigners thousands of US dollars to do the same job the youths of our soil spent years studying to earn, they give foreigners the same jobs our qualified youths applied for, yet expect us to be okay with it. We are welcomed with open arms in developed countries though many of them could manage without our help, but we are shunned in our own country because we’re “local” or lack “experience”.
In addition, many of us have come to the realisation that our qualifications don’t even matter in some cases, it’s more about links or “who knows who”. The fact that people could be placed in jobs/careers without earning those positions and no evidence of their qualifications to back it, show how corrupt employment is and how bias it could be for the youths who aren’t “lucky” enough to have a family member or know someone in the system. A few instances, I’ve seen cleaners with degrees and highly qualified youths being supervised and managed by people who hold no more than three CSEC subjects. Not only is it embarrassing but also it is a sign of disrespect to those who made sacrifices to add value to their CV and to their names. Not forgetting to mention the mediocre salaries that we’re being offered despite all of our qualifications.
Subsequently, unemployment comes with a high level of vulnerability. This vulnerability is seen and preyed on by some deceitful employers, bosses or those who hold power in the job environment. They use their power to manipulate the young and vulnerable, by forcing them to barter their bodies for a position in their company, unable to control their sexual desires, too power drunk to even have morals, they degrade these young men and women for the benefit of themselves and not for the advancement of the company they represent. Failure to comply with their lustful and malicious orders result in being denied the job, and the position you applied for will most likely be given to someone who’s more vulnerable than you. Too many youths have been and are becoming victims of this lawlessness, it has somehow been normalized yet carries a stain that many youths choose not to speak out about.
In conclusion, it is a pity that we youths are continuously being side-lined or overlooked despite our honest attempts to contribute to the economy and further the advancement of the nation we serve. Though I understand the need for experience, this cannot be attained without providing opportunities for one to do so, I’d recommend training or mentorship programmes within these various organisations that would allow youths the chance to demonstrate the knowledge attained in their respective academic fields. To decrease the yearly brain drain statistics more attention, consideration and employment opportunities should be readily available for our youths, not forgetting the same handsome salary you are willing to bride foreigners with to work for your respected companies. Human resource is an integral assets for development, if we invest in our own without biasness or malicious requirements our youths will indeed be the future, while overtime gaining the various experiences that would be needed to master every field of Employment. (Shannae Trotz is a 19-year-old third year International Relations Students at the University of Guyana)