Updated: Aug 24
Written by Dalia Afrasiab
The creation of the Junior Enterprise concept has achieved many accomplishments, empowering university students around the world. One accomplishment includes “enhancing opportunities and challenging the next generation of leaders to think outside the box, as future shapers and active citizens.”
In addition, one of the main goals of the Junior Enterprise concept is the enhancement of student employability through the development of professional and transferable skills, bringing extraordinary talent and creative minds to the market. It is important to encourage the youth to be active participants in society and provide them with an array of opportunities, in which they can gain skills to contribute to the employment market.
Access To Employability
Whilst 67% of millennials are looking for a new job, it is estimated that 48% of the workforce will be millennials by 2020. Although this estimation is high, many employers remain sceptical towards positioning millennials in leadership roles and in positions of power, due to a lack of relevant skill and experience in certain professional fields. The older generation often characterize the millennial generation as “entitled and too dependent on technology” and criticise them as inexperienced. As a result, youths struggle to gain employment during their early years. According to theorist David Kolb (1984) learning is “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience”, this is also known as the ‘learning by doing philosophy’.
This is a motto that the Junior Enterprise concept successfully follows. Promoting this philosophy, and exposing millennials to a professional environment, will aid in the preparation of millennials and teach them how to strategically manage and develop a company that either already exists or is of their own creation. In addition to personal advantages and attaining numerous skills, gaining experience provides youths with the ability to demonstrate their potential and themselves as assets.
The Use Of Technology
Technology has become increasingly significant and incorporated in society, specifically large businesses. Due to rapid technological advancements, many businesses either have a greater online presence or are solely conducted through an online source. In this regard, the younger generation are more advanced and have a greater fluid adoption of this new technology. On the other hand, the elderly generation generally find it more difficult to adapt away from comfortable means of work.
According to Karoline Holicky of Meisterplan, “Millennials trust the power of technology, and know that adopting better systems is the most efficient way to make better decisions”. Millennial leaders often rely on the abilities of overarching platforms to create better decisions and efficiently organize resources. Millennials shouldn’t be criticised for their use of technology. Instead, they should be praised for their value for innovation, creativity and effective use of a platform that enables access to a large scope of intelligence and communication.
The European Commission’s 2012 study of the ‘effect and impact of entrepreneurship programmes in higher education’ concluded that the Junior Enterprise concept is a best practice for students. The study specifically mentions JADE, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises, which is an umbrella organisation that represents more than 28,000 students coming from 330 Junior Enterprises (student-run businesses).
The EU Youth Strategy for 2010-2018 focuses on two main objectives. The first objective is “to provide more and equal opportunities for young people in education and the job market” and the second objective is “to encourage young people to actively participate in society”.
In March 2018, the European Commission put forward proposals for a new EU youth Strategy for 2019-2027, which require the discussion of the Council of the European Union. These objectives are “achieved through a dual approach, which includes: specific youth initiatives, targeted at young people to encourage non-formal learning, participation, voluntary activities, youth work, mobility and information”. This also includes: “Mainstreaming cross-sector initiatives that ensure youth issues are considered when formulating, implementing and evaluating policies and actions in other fields with a significant impact on young people, such as education, employment or health and well-being.” Providing the youth with opportunities, and encouraging students to actively participate in society, will be beneficial to the economy and society as a whole.
Further, this will prepare the next generation to adapt to different working environments and stand out in the competitive employment market, with valuable skills. Through their experiences, students can gain professional contracts and a further understanding of certain fields of interest.
Although the EU has introduced programs and recommendations, the government should actively introduce more initiatives and support to providing more equal opportunities for students, who have the intention of entering into the job market and encouraging them to be active participants in society.
As millennials are the future and the next generation of leaders, it is important to encourage a variety of opportunities and engagement in various activities, that enable students from all backgrounds to gain further insight into their fields of interest.
In addition, this will create more efficient and experienced leaders, that can use their creativity and incorporate skills and knowledge gained from their experiences. The Junior Enterprise concept plays a crucial role in enhancing the employability of students through providing a variety of opportunities to gain practical and theoretical skills.
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