Africa, Youth

Youth Unemployment: Africa’s Biggest Challenge

For most people, graduating from college means the beginning of a career. Whether college actually prepares students to launch successful careers remains a puzzle. A World Bank research carried out in 2016 shows that out of the 800,000 students graduating from universities in Kenya every year, only about 70,000 are able to secure jobs.

Youth unemployment rates in Africa are the highest compared to other regions. This is the case even as the current generation is the continent’s most educated to emerge out of universities and colleges. The situation is set to get even worse as the continent’s population grows. In less than 6000 days, Africa will be home to the biggest population of young people in the world.

Does this portend a hopeless future for Africa’s youth? Not necessarily. In fact, this reality can be viewed as a massive opportunity for the continent. Africa could easily capitalize on its shifting age structure to gain a massive boost in economic productivity. Some experts argue that the time could be ripe for Africa to experience a demographic dividend similar to that which East Asia experienced during the last century.

A lot of responsibility now lies in the hands of Africa’s youth. To be prepared to face the challenges of a more uncertain future and an extremely competitive world, our young people must be equipped with the right skills, mindsets, and community. ALX is working to equip young leaders with what it takes to succeed today through the ALX Launchpad.

The ALX Launchpad

The ALX Launchpad is a 6-month intensive program designed to equip recent university graduates with the skills and network they need to succeed in today’s competitive job market.

The Launchpad will prepare young individuals to be successful by empowering them with meaningful skills to become highly attractive to employers or to start their own ventures. They also gain powerful connections to top employers, entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors. Building on 14 years of experience of the African Leadership Group, ALX is a unique opportunity to change the life trajectory of young leaders and connect them to a movement of change-makers.

The Launchpad uses a hands-on approach to helping participants develop their skills. In our project management workshop, for instance, young leaders are exposed to real-life problems in existing businesses and asked to create solutions. This includes proposing expansion and marketing strategies, using data to propose strategic decisions, and presenting well-thought-out and compelling findings to business leaders.

How and why did we settle on this approach? During a series of interviews with some of the leading employers in Africa, a majority of employers cited the fact that “university graduates were not ready” and that “they lacked job-ready skills” as the main reason for not employing recent graduates. How best to develop these job-ready skills than to work in collaboration with employers themselves?

How will young people afford to pay for the Launchpad? ALX is introducing an interesting and innovative financing model called the Income Share Agreement (ISA). Our young leaders are only asked to pay once they graduate and when they start earning. This will be done through a series of payments as a percentage of income over a fixed period of time. Our financing model makes it possible for the next generation of young leaders to access such an incredible opportunity, regardless of their financial background.

Who Are We Looking For?

ALX is looking for young people who have the drive, the curiosity, the passion, and the desire to excel. We are looking for young people who have the courage and tenacity to take on some of the biggest challenges in Africa and in the world.

These are typically recent graduates from universities and colleges with great potential to succeed. The ALX Launchpad will serve to ignite potential in our young leaders and position them to excel.

Young Leaders After ALX

ALX will produce young leaders who are more ready to face the world of work and business. Young professionals who have the skills cited as “a must” by employers. Young professionals who are better placed to not only score jobs from some of the leading employers but to also create their own.

Our vision goes beyond just helping to launch successful careers and ventures. Our vision is to create the next generation of African leaders. Our young leaders will be empowered to lead and pioneer the needed change in Africa and in the world.

Recent Graduates

Graduating from college is a huge achievement, and so, congratulations! Now is the time to launch your career of impact and purpose. Our pledge at ALX is to give you the tools and resources that you need to kick-start your career.

Our first Launchpad cohort is beginning this September in one of Nairobi’s most vibrant communities, Nairobi Garage. Go ahead and apply here or nominate a young leader to be part of our excellent community and be empowered to succeed.

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