Acquiring skills through activism




Finding a job is becoming increasingly difficult today, more so due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To give themselves a competitive edge over others, young job seekers could look into being a part of social activism groups, experts say.

Youth participation in movements and advocacy has gained popularity over the years.

Just two years ago, what started out as a climate change protest by Swedish school striker Greta Thunberg outside the Swedish parliament snowballed into demonstrations by millions of others across the globe.

Here on Malaysian soil, our youths are just as big a change-maker with their most recent “impact” being the Constitutional amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.

The campaign was driven by two young activists who founded the Undi18 movement.

Such involvement, Yayasan Generasi Gemilang director of services Nick Foong said, benefits youths by giving them exposure, experience and employability.

“Exposure is about getting the opportunity to open their minds and hearts to the situations of others.

“This will allow them to see and better understand other people’s views, and is incredibly enriching.

“This then translates to experience and allows them to apply classroom learning to real life, ” he said.

Gaining these skills helps them become more employable as well, Foong said.

Youths who have track records of activism or volunteerism will have resumes that stand out during job interviews.

It makes them more confident in workplace interactions and the sharing of new ideas, he added.

Having an active interest in societal issues and engaging in co-creating or finding solutions to these problems are vital as youths, he believes, are an energetic and fearless segment of society.

They can be vital in driving social impact and changes.

“The explosion of social media has enabled more issues to be brought to light, hence raising the social consciousness of the next generation.

“They are standing up for what they believe in and are more vocal.”

Supporting meaningful and impactful causes, Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS) former chairman Datuk Zuraidah Atan said, adds value to their skillsets.

She added that there is a need for today’s youths to improve their level of communication and comprehension, and to articulate their thoughts clearly.

“Clarity in thoughts leads to clarity in words and deeds.

“Whilst it is good to have social consciousness, it is more relevant if organisations empower youths by enhancing their skills that will get them employed, especially during these trying times.”

Change begins with ourselves, she said.

While the practising lawyer encourages youths to be active in movements and activism, she advised that they choose their causes wisely and not be used as “tools of those with unscrupulous agenda”.

“We all must be responsible citizens when we push or steer youths to partake in programmes, ” she added.

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