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Accepted paper:

The Talent-Career Trajectories in Education for Youth Employment and Employability in Africa


Moses Yakubu (University of Lagos)
Paul Michael (University of Benin)

Paper long abstract:

Ironically, Africa which is so rich both in terms of human and natural resources has not been able to translate these resources to achieve commensurate development outcomes due to shortfalls in value orientation and value systems. The human resource, especially its young population has not been maximally engaged in meaningful employment. Specifically, one of the reasons for the dislocation between resource potential and human achievement is simply a lack of genuine direction or articulation of the talents, careers, energy, vitality, creativity and potential of its youths. The problem of youth unemployment in most parts of Africa is revealed by lapses in the theoretical and practical trajectories for solutions. While education and training of the young have been strongly suggested as ways of developing capabilities in the youth and ameliorating youth unemployment situation in Africa, we propose the talent-career approach as a complimentary solution to the problem. The talent-career approach is a philosophical idea or construct traceable to three historical epochs - ancient, modern and contemporary - focusing on the individual's 'basic capabilities' or natural ability/talent in the education and training processes for employment and employability. Rather than focusing on attempts to impose certain kinds of knowledge of a 'scientific nature' on young people, on the assumption that this will prepare them for employment, the talent-career approach to youth employment combines the theoretical and practical trajectories of endogenous perspectives to the problem of youth unemployment in Africa. This philosophical effort is justified because Africans seemingly pursued science and technology as well as political development directly yet they did not fully realize the import of capturing the fundamental value systems and ways of thinking that underlie the development theories while building in the youth creatively and constructively. The central questions are: How should the problem of youth unemployment be addressed? In our quest to resolve the problem of youth unemployment in Africa, should the attention be on the development of factors external or internal to the youth? How can focusing on individual's basic capabilities help ameliorate the youth unemployment concern in Africa? In the absence of an employment opportunity, what system of value can help the individual in self-creation of job? This study employs the analytic and descriptive methods which help to analytically conceptualize youth employment and related notions within the context of Africa.

panel G41
Youth employment, knowledge and the labour markets; knowledge and society [initiated by Edukans with INCLUDE, ISCTE-IU Lisbon and Advance Afrika (Kampala, Uganda]]