By Mark Delgado
1. The important role of the Internet. From the brainstorming sessions to the real-time polling, I have been hearing the words such as “digital apps”, “digital jobs”, “e-commerce”, “e-learning”, “ICT”, “online jobs”, “social media” and the like. As an online professional, it’s good to know that my peers all over the region are now more open to ICT-based initiatives as solutions to problems such as youth unemployment. I myself is a product of ICT-based initiatives. Not only that I am an online professional, I also completed my certification as a blog and social media entrepreneur through an e-learning-led program designed by Ateneo de Manila University and DigitalFilipino.com. Deep inside me, there is a burning passion to tell the whole world that digital is the way to go and that in my world, there are so many available jobs for the Asian youth. Also, what I don’t understand is that the Philippines and Indonesia are among the top 10 users of social media in the whole world. Are we really not aware of these online jobs? Is this an issue of a mismatch between the available jobs and the available skills of the Asian youth? Is this an issue along the lines of formal and informal jobs?
I am parking these questions for now. I know that these will somehow be answered in the next few days of the forum. But one thing’s sure for me – if we want something new, let’s do something new. Exploring the many possibilities that the online world can offer as an enabler is a good action point to begin with.
2. The power of brevity. I had been to many local and international forums, especially in leadership and marketing. I can say that people generally love to express themselves through words. But talking does not necessarily mean productivity. This is what I appreciate the most in #Skills4Youth forum. Having only a few hours in a day, we know we cannot just talk. We need to arrive at action points. This led us to agreeing on a specific framework to follow and then crowdsource our responses to it through online. My peers in #Skills4Youth forum appreciate simplicity, speed and technology – some of the things often neglected before as people tend to focus more on making the discussions more “complete” and “participative”. But efficiency is also a measure of success and time is a very important element. I am very glad that we started it out right on Day 1.
3. The 5W Proposal. I have discovered a new proposal framework during the #Skills4Youth forum. Let’s take a look at the 5 Ws one by one.
- Why? – Rationale or the issues you want resolved
- What? – Action points
- Who? – Partners, stakeholders, supporters
- When? – Timeline
- What does success look like? – Outcome
The framework may look very simple as it only has 5 questions – a far cry from your college thesis, yes, but I believe that this is what also made it very powerful. At this day and age, where innovation is almost made equivalent to simplifying things, making things complicated has become obsolete. We are now entering the age of Twitter (cutting your shoutouts to 149 chars.) and iPhone (having just 1 button on your phone).
Undeniably, the 5W Proposal is a breath of fresh air. When it was laid down to the group during the brainstorming session, there was a sudden gush excitement and thrill within the group. We know that by having a direction (and having a simple one) will allow us to accomplish more.
4. On starting small and becoming solution-oriented. I appreciated it when John Trew encouraged us to become solution-focused and to start small. One of the fears that I have when attending big forums such as the #Skills4Youth is that we may get trapped in creating motherhood statements after long discourses of what the problem is all about, and without much forward movement. I am very glad that we are focusing more on the solutions rather than on the status quo. I believe is the reason why the forum was created in the first place — to focus on action points. In business, we often use The Business Model Canvas by Business Model Generation when we create plans. Perhaps, it will help us immensely if we can adapt the canvas and transform it into something that can be used by NGOs. To download The Business Model Canvas, please visit http://businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas.
5. Genuine concern of the youth. I appreciate all of my co-delegates especially the ones from our neighboring countries in Asia. We have one delegate from China who experienced being a farmer and had a hard time acquiring education in her country. This is despite China being an economic superpower today. Another one is from Vietnam who used to work from 7am to 10pm every single day. I was astonished by their stories. I never realized how blessed I am with the opportunities that I have right now until I met them. I know that I can never work in a farm nor work 15 hours a day. But these are the stories that they brought from their countries to the ADB #Skills4Youth forum.
Through them I was able to see the genuine concern of the youth for their fellow youth who are unemployed/uneducated. It’s because they had experienced the brunt of it themselves. My prayer is that their stories be heard by more people in the world, especially by my fellow Filipino youth, and realize how serious the repercussions are of being unemployed/uneducated. The premise is simple. If you are unemployed/uneducated, you are hungry. If you are hungry, you become more vulnerable to much more serious problems such as crimes, drug addiction, prostitution and etc.
We are done with Day 1 and we are now moving on to Day 2. Changing the world, I know, is not an easy task but I am grateful because something is being done. I am very glad that as a youth, I am at season of my life where I can see the problems more clearly, being at the forefront of the world and at the same time, have the strength to work with my fellow youth towards finding solutions and creating action points.
Below are some of the interesting keywords that I have picked out from the youth delegation in ADB #Skills4Youth forum.
- Skills mismatch
- Informal and formal
- Rural and urban
- Lack of institutional support
- Surplus of professionals
- Skills development
- Education system
- Rural opportunities
- Incapacitated education system
- Education opportunities
- Indigenous people
- Top social media users
- Supply and demand of labor
- Lack of policies
- Inadequate financial and technical support
- Online jobs
- Market-driven opportunities
The 2013 ADB International Skills Development Forum is scheduled to take place from 09 to 12 December 2013. For live updates and to join the discussions, follow the hashtags #AsianYouth and #Skills4Youth.