In 2024, if there is a high rate of youth unemployment, it becomes even more important for young people to exercise their right to vote. Here are a few reasons why:
◆ Influence policy decisions: By voting, young people can have a say in choosing political leaders who can shape policies that address youth unemployment. Elected officials are more likely to prioritise issues that matter to those who actively participate in the electoral process.
◆ Hold leaders accountable: Voting allows young people to hold policymakers accountable for their promises and actions. By electing representatives who prioritise youth issues, such as employment opportunities and economic growth, young voters can ensure that their concerns are heard and acted upon.
◆ Shape the future: Participating in elections empowers young people to shape the future they want to see. By voting, they can support candidates and policies that promote job creation, skills development, and economic opportunities for youth. It helps in building a better environment for future generations.
◆ Increase representation: When young people vote, they increase their representation in the political process. This can lead to a more diverse and inclusive policy making environment where the needs and perspectives of young people are taken into account.
◆ Encourage change: High youth voter turnout can signal a demand for change and draw attention to the issue of youth unemployment. It sends a message to policymakers that young people are actively engaged and concerned about their economic prospects, which can prompt them to take action. Remember, while voting alone may not directly solve the problem of youth unemployment, it is a crucial step towards influencing the political landscape and advocating for policies that address this issue. Additionally, young people can also engage in other forms of activism, such as grassroots organising, advocacy campaigns, and community involvement, to bring attention to the challenges they face and work towards positive change.
◆ Labour market reforms: Governments can implement labour market reforms to reduce barriers to employment, such as excessive regulations or rigid employment protection laws.
◆ Targeted job creation programs: Government can implement targeted job creation programs specifically aimed at reducing youth unemployment. These programs can provide subsidies or incentives to businesses willing to hire young people.
◆ Mentoring and career guidance: Providing mentoring and career guidance programs can help young people make informed decisions about their education and career paths, increasing their chances of finding suitable employment.
Addressing high rates of youth unemployment requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach involving multiple stakeholders, including government, educational institutions, businesses, and youth organisations. By investing in education, skills training, and creating an enabling environment for employment, societies can work towards reducing youth unemployment and unlocking the potential of their younger generations.
* Moepetsane is an author and social entrepreneur.