April 14, 2016
by Omar Luethi

What NEETs need: Your practical expertise

NEETs, youth Not in Employment, Education or Training, are an indicator of youth inactivity. And the NEET rates measured by the OECD are high. Too high, if it is threatening even well-qualified university graduates. One major cause is the growing gap between two unequal systems: education and the labour markets. The good news: it takes relatively little effort for businesses and individual business professionals to share their practical expertise and create major impact for first-time job seekers.Every year, hundreds of thousands are facing the challenge of finding adequate jobs after completing their studies at University. Some are lucky and find a suitable position within no time. For the vast majority, the school-to-work transition is everything but easy. With no professional experience and no proof of what they could be capable of, it is hard to get recognized by recruiters. First time job-seekers are confronted with the same dilemma time and time again: With no experience, they do not get adequate entry-level jobs. And without a suitable job, there is no opportunity to gain relevant experience.

After the first few unsuccessful months into their job-search, the pressure, both economically and psychologically, starts to mount and questions arise: should I just take any stable job, even if not related to my studies? If I accept the next best job in bar or shop down the road, will anyone every believe me that I could do more than stack shelves? For the individual this unstable situation can turn from bad to nerve wracking. Needless to say that this is not exactly the right situation to build up a healthy self-esteem and self-efficacy. This is especially so in countries with high youth unemployment and even higher rates of youth underemployment, such as Turkey, Italy or Greece (according to OECD´s latest data, all with NEET rates higher than 30% among the 20-24 year olds).

It would be too easy to blame structural economic problems alone. The skills-mismatch, the lack of skills needed in the labour markets, is just as relevant as a cause for youth unemployment and underemployment. And this brings us back to the two incompatible systems: education and labour market. We simply need to improve the ways and means that allow young adults to move from education into suitable jobs. There are two ways to approach the issue: As employers and recruiters we may just wait for the education system to move closer to the labour market needs or we create means to bridge the two systems. Having worked in higher education I know one thing for sure: waiting for schools to transform is going to take a while. Therefore, let us look at bridging the two systems. At Dual we believe it is easier than it sounds: Equip first-time job seekers with the skills relevant in today´s job markets. How can such skills be acquired? Through experiential learning situations interacting with business professionals in authentic virtual settings. What we need are mainly real-world business challenges and a network of enthusiastic business professionals who wish to share their experience with young potentials. After the mentoring stage, the business professional also takes part in the evaluation of the outcomes and acknowledges observed skills, behaviours and attitudes towards the mentee. For the first-time job seeker such a reference from a business professional can essentially make the difference.

Dual is currently looking for business professionals and industry experts in Marketing and Sales or related fields. If you feel that sharing your experience in a virtual part-time engagement would be valuable for young job-seekers and meaningful to you please let us know.

business education, labour market, practitioner collaboration, school-to-work transition, skills mismatch

Omar Luethi

Co-Founder and CEO at Dual. Entrepreneur. Creative thinker and satisfied through action. Either climbing mountains or moving them.