A student graduates from university, ready to take on the next challenge: a career. However, he or she finds that the real challenge is finding a career, not developing and advancing one. Today, students and fresh graduates are frustrated with potential employers turning them down because they do not have enough experience. So, the youth faces the dilemma: no employment without experience and no experience without employment.
The seriousness of youth unemployment is depicted in the United Nation’s decision to include the issue in its 2030 Agenda, which puts it alongside the more popular issues such as Gender Equality and Affordable and Clean Energy. Under SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, the UN has outlined three targets relevant to the subject:
SDG 8.5: By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
SDG 8.6: By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
SDG 8.B: By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization
The issue is also tackled under SDG 4: Quality Education:
Hiring students and fresh graduates as interns adds to their experience, knowledge, CV, and eventually, their employability. CTG believes in hiring young creative minds; it adds to the company’s energy and helps advance SDG 8 and SDG 4.
Any type of unpaid labour paves the way for exploitation. Unpaid interns eventually become an alternative to paid employees. This, in turn, affects overall employment, and more experienced workers will struggle to compete with unpaid interns. Since CTG gives interns valuable work experience by allowing them to participate in tasks and job roles, and since CTG fervently opposes unpaid labour by International Labour Organisation standards, it pays its interns.
To ensure an organised learning experience for interns, CTG assigns a permanent employee as a mentor for each intern. This makes the interns’ tasks and roles well-defined and customised to fit each intern’s professional progress. Mentors encourage interns to work independently and to confidently express innovation. Mentors also direct interns towards professional networking opportunities.
In 2009, internship management company Intern Bridge found that females are 77% more likely than men to take unpaid internships. This means that gender equality has a long way to go not only in the realm of permanent employment, but also in the realm of internships.
Since the beginning of 2017, 100% of the interns hired by CTG have been young women. This is in line with SDG 5: Gender Equality, which calls for female empowerment until we reach the ultimate gender equality goal. Interns also attended the Women’s Day workshop, which raised awareness on gender issues in the workplace and brainstormed ways to tackle them. According to the World Bank, only 21.8 percent of the labour force was female in 2016.
Hiring female interns can only increase the chances of women finding a full-time job. As a believer in the necessity of involving the youth in global endeavours, I am really proud to have been part of an organization which pushes the youth to actively participate and apply their potential.
Reine is a United Nations Global Compact Youth Ambassador and interned at CTG for six months. CTG’s internship programme is targeted at female graduates and rather than a simple job shadowing encourages interns to manage projects (with supervision), share ideas and put them into practice. The programme is currently running in our Dubai head office and in our Nairobi office with plans to expand into other regional offices.