Young people are in a precarious position where the changing landscape of work in the future requires them to make informed decisions today. Policymakers find immense potential in the youth and acknowledge the need for initiatives that build their capacities for future success.
The coming years pose unique challenges for the youth. The changing landscape of work due to the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) requires youth to be prepared for an unanticipated future. It is evident that the skills required for 4IR are very different from what is being taught at educational institutions. Formal education has yet to catch up to technologies of the present, let alone attempt to keep up with the future. On top of which, climate change is a growing concern that is going to impact several industries and how they function. Young people need to be prepared for what is going to be their future and it is the responsibility of our institutions to enable them in every way possible.
Youth participants of ‘Policy Camp 2021’, who we refer to as our Policy Champions, got the opportunity to inquire about various concerns of the future of work through interviewing youth climate activists, a local entrepreneur, and various skills trainees at UCEP Bangladesh. They presented their findings and posed their queries on how to best approach the issues of future of work to the policy makers, Honorable Member of Parliament (MP) Advocate Adiba Anjum Mita, MP, and Mahjabeen Khaled, Former MP and Co-chair of Parliamentary Caucus on Social Justice, in a ‘Hello MP’ session on October 6th, 2021.
Policy Campions brought forth various concerns such as the causes of youth unemployment and policy changes required to tackle them, policies that encourage entrepreneurship specially for marginalized populations, importance of skills training and how that must be encouraged, and finally environmental policies that need to be adopted to better fight the climate crisis. Policy Champions prepared and submitted policy briefs, which were then presented for discussion with the policy makers.
‘Young people must strive to increase their capacities and build networks’ says Mahjabeen Khaled, Former MP and Co-chair of Parliamentary Caucus on Social Justice, when asked how young people can prepare for their future. Ms. Khaled emphasized that skills development in both technical and soft skills is necessary for successful participation in the future workforce.
Honorable Member of Parliament Advocate Adiba Anjum Mita, MP, emphasized that youth participation in public policy is necessary and capacity building initiatives that encourage youth to be more active and outspoken is most beneficial. She stressed on providing such opportunities to women and other marginalized populations, adding that the young participants who have joined ‘Policy Camp’ will be able to utilize their learning to develop their talents and become proficient for future endeavors.
It is important that young people get the opportunity to put their thoughts, queries and demands forward about the challenges they would be facing to policy makers who are making decisions on their futures. Equally, it is important that policy makers get to listen to young people themselves about their concerns from their own mouths so that they can take action on their behalf. The ‘Hello MP’ program creates a platform to decrease the distance between policymakers and their constituents so that more effective and beneficial policies are adopted.