Most youth in secondary schools are offered the opportunity of work experience these days in certain countries. Students have the opportunity to practically experience what their parents are doing or observe other profession. Many fields of employment are selected for this exercise.
Students are encouraged to write letters to these organisations or companies by themselves. This exposes them to how to market themselves to potential job owners in the future.
Benefits to the youth
This gives students the opportunity to start planning for their future career prospects steering them where to focus their energies. Employers' feel privileged and their services are augmented with the exposure of spreading a company's mission with students who are their future recruits.
Early identification of students' interest through a taster experience in the job market would help the Government to budget for gaps within the employment market to get the future workforce to face up to the global challenges.
The successful implementation of an organisation's objective must start from this initial intervention of a student's keen interest in an organisation. If Ghana is able to integrate this effective planning and nurture its future workforce, then there is the likelihood of having the right breed of staff for every department.
Just like Ghana, many developed countries never thought of these ideas until recently and many students have benefited from work experiences. Students would not only gain the breath of their intended career but also have a widened perspective of jobs which helps in later life.
In addition they would have an overview of a company's set objectives and their expectations, and this would surely sharpen the direction of future job prospects.
How could an African student compete with a student with all these head starts in life? African students equally have all the potential but system failures don't help them.
Sharing best practice internationally
Having an international journal for head teachers to share best practice for students (what works or what needs more exploration) becomes more vital in this current climate of economic growth. Such a move would ensure equity of education for our youth globally thus leading to a universal and dynamic global workforce.
In Africa, work experience is an innovative approach however it becomes even more essential to our limited, over stretched or nothing at all resources. Parents just want their youths to get out and join the workforce to help the family to fend for younger siblings. Some children get the work experience from their family if they have a business through vacation jobs etc.
Families have many children from current marriages and others yet expecting the very best outcome from each child. How do African children cope with parent's expectations to choose the right job without even having a taste of the job?
These should challenge the Government to consider endorsing work experience package for all SSS students to facilitate an effective planning of our future workforce.
Ghana is catching up with the developed world from all angles. The developed continents such as Europe, Asia and America are focusing on Africa but particularly on Ghana.
Ghana has a unique tapestry of diversity in culture and religion, with people living in harmony, and this is the envy of the world. However does Ghana have the right workforce with capacity and capability to be called business partners?
Could this new approach be of great interest to the Ministry of Education perhaps?
In fact having a long-term vision for all students is crucial for any country. Making poverty a history ideally starts from taking such a stance. Every student has the potential to achieve his or her desired goal given the right environment and the resources. Research has shown those facts over and over again.
Ghana, the rest of Africa and other developing countries would certainly be a better place if everyone were to be educated just the way our late President Kwame Nkrumah had his vision set on.
Currently, as it stands, majority of our youths is missing out in the work experience enjoyed by most children in the developed world where schools have incorporated this practice with their curriculum.
Many African students go to University without knowing exactly what their chosen subjects entail until it's too late for them. Some students have role models within the family setting; get the guidance but what about those without any ideal role model? The future is very bleak!!!
Do senior secondary schools have career counsellor? Do the various organisations within our country go to schools and participate in career fairs to assist students on the right subjects to focus on?
Students are left at the mercy of themselves to make these crucial decisions. Some do get help from their educated parents however some don't and sadly, easily become prey for the rich men waiting to entice the youth into all sorts of immoral activities.
A student needs to be encouraged to realise that they have the power to make or break their own lives? There are scholarship opportunities around and with access through the Internet any country of their interest. They could visit foreign Embassies or read the local newspaper for information.
It would be a useful catalyst if students were given a form of certificate that would facilitate their determination and zeal through their work experience.
Global award of a kind for example, the World Challenge Expedition.
Design of the programme
The programme could be designed to allow students to have work experiences in cocoa farms, animal farms etc. They could also help in community schools and get the opportunity of experiencing other regions and camping for two weeks and learning about the basic things of survival... these would enhance the image of our youth and beyond.
All these strategies would help our youth to focus on their own achievement and capabilities.
When is the wake up call coming for the Ministry of Education to act ASAP without fail? It is never too late for our youth who are falling victim to all kinds of vices in this world!