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How the youth can remain sustainably competitive in today’s job market

Jul 15, 2021
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By Dr. Ehud Gachugu,

Personal growth is essential in realizing one’s competitive advantage in the job market. Notably, a specific formula does not define personal success. This makes an individual’s goals and priorities have considerably unique impacts on their varying interest. Nonetheless, there are crucial elements of personal growth that can be applicable despite the distinct differences in goals and priorities.

To survive, one must learn

Education is one of the vital elements. Remember that “to earn more, you must learn more.” Being above the average earns one better opportunities in life and career. Moreover, such a person has more knowledge of the critical facts, information, and ideas. Accordingly, the contribution they make in the knowledge-based society is more valuable. Consequently, they increase their competitive advantage in the job market and live a desirable life. Today, you don’t need a classroom to learn or earn an education of any sort. With technology, we have information at the click of a button. Knowledge is accessible anywhere and at any time, also proved by the advent of the pandemic. Education, like most other sectors, has increasingly adopted technology to ensure learning continues despite the disruptions. What once seemed impossible, has been proved tenable.

Skill is necessary for personal growth

The level of abilities determines the results’ quality and quantity in a given field. Increasing skills ensures that one gets better at performing tasks and increases speed and efficiency in their results. Skills can be advanced through study and experience. It’s easier to move forward to the desired goal when one has the necessary skills. As a result, top brands in the job market are increasing being inclined towards hiring talent based on their experiences and abilities, as compared to their level of education. This nonetheless, doesn’t dispute the need to have educational qualification; in fact, I stated it as the first element above.

Building sustainable networks

Networking is essential for personal growth. An individual opening or closing a door for someone significantly determines the kind of change that another person will experience. Utilizing every networking opportunity can broaden one’s contacts. Usually, one’s success and their network are directly related. Therefore, the quality of the network that one has determines their success levels in their respective job markets.

Attitude equals altitude

A positive mental attitude drives personal growth. What makes a person is what they do? A positive mental attitude helps someone to identify the good in everything and seek to experience growth even during changing times. One’s network determines the activities they choose to participate in.

A positive mental attitude would compel one to be confident, positive and optimistic; thus, it gets easier to identify significant opportunities even during challenging times.

Creativity is vital

Finally, creativity allows one to go above the average and ensures efficient, and agile ways of performing tasks. Moreover, creativity calls for uniqueness. Remember, one good idea is all that is needed to start a fortune. Interestingly, creativity would allow one to effectively explore the limited and competitive opportunities.

In conclusion

Stephen R. Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is vital in the issue of personal growth. Accordingly, the seven habits he provides can be instrumental for young people seeking to advance their capabilities. They include being proactive, beginning with the end in mind; putting first things first; thinking win-win; seeking first to understand, then to be understood; synergize by cooperating with others; and sharpening the saw through regular physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual renewal.

As we celebrate World Youth Skills Day, I wish to emphasize that “a thousand miles start with a single step.” Create a plan that will guide personal growth and development.  You could begin by assessing your current state, identify areas with opportunities, establish skills and experiences, develop an action plan and start the process of personal development. Most importantly, ensure that the goals and objectives that you have set are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound to avoid getting frustrated in the process.

Globally, there will be massive changes in the next 10-15 years, highly driven by technology and will bring more connectedness and opportunities. The youth need to keep abreast of these changes for them to remain relevant and foster personal growth. Therefore, they should frequently look beyond themselves and identify opportunities to grow. Consequently, they will achieve set goals and significantly contribute to a society with fewer frustrations. Happy World Youth Skills Day.

By Dr. Ehud Gachugu, the Director, Ajira Digital and Youth Employment Program at the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)

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