Professionals from diverse fields, including Technology, Human Resources, Management, and entrepreneurship, have charged African youth to acquire soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, time management, and communication skills to succeed and stay relevant in the workplace.
The consensus was expressed during the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Connect series held virtually on Thursday, February 24, 2022, to inspire, engage, and uplift young people while amplifying their incredible work across the continent.
The Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Connect series is a platform for young people to discuss issues and topics relevant to them and receive the information and resources they need as they strive to build dignified lives for themselves and their families.
Speaking during the program, the Senior Human Resources Business Partner, MTN Nigeria, Rabi Adetoro, emphasized the need for youth to have a mindset of lifelong learners to keep up with the transformative nature of the working environment.
Adetoro further explained the need for a career-driven person to value experiences derived from acquiring soft skills, as they form the attributes and attitudes that stay with one at the workplace.
“The world of work is changing rapidly, and one of the factors driving this change is automation. This is a big deal because, ten years ago, what people used to do is now being replaced by machines. This is why one has to think outside the box to stay relevant in the world of work in the future. Please think of the things machines cannot do; they cannot feel, empathize, or lead or influence people, and all these soft skills can be learned. These skills are work and industry neutral skills that do not change with the industry or job you go into because they are attitudes and behaviours that stay with you”, she said.
In her contribution, Elizabeth Koka, Project Officer, Livelihoods, Kakuma spoke on the importance of networking in staying relevant to the future of work. She advocated for the youth to imbibe the skill of networking, as this would help them thrive in any workplace environment they find themselves in as they progress in their endeavors.
Skills and Innovation Team Lead, Youth Opportunity and Transformation in Africa (YOTA), Eric Saforo, opined that young people need to invest in their growth intentionally. According to him, young people should be more proactive, be more curious, creative, and innovative, and have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He encouraged the youth to be target-driven in their quest to achieve self-development and ultimately fulfill potential.