Investment in Education has the highest return. The ROI is in the quality of life
Learning Skills and On The Job Training
Pandemic or not, war or peace, the power has always in the hands of those that mastered knowledge. Past year the Global Data Sphere exceeded 50 Zettabytes by most estimates, IDC included (source). This means 50 followed by 21 zeroes of bytes. As education cannot be provided without books, given that an average book takes about 360,000 bytes, this gives a new dimension to the statement that data is power. This is not something new – as rulers knew from ancient times about the importance of mastering knowledge. Just think about the Library of Alexandria, the pursuit of building the Tower of Babylon and all the libraries burnt and destroyed by conquerors just to stop the others’ progress.
Machines can process larger and larger volumes of data and provide meaningful information with increasing speed. Their creators, humans, need time to filter relevant information, to acquire knowledge, to develop skills and to further apply them in their job field. Moreover, the transition from homo faber to a society where everything is a click away might have a serious effect on our own abilities about processing data, turning the Flynn effect and the topic about peak and falling IQ rates a serious subject for research. All of these makes the discussion about the skillset required to succeed in life a more actual topic than ever.
Unfortunately, it is our generation, the one that creates a new Zettabyte of data every week, also the one that is witnessing to the rise of people that are Not in Employment, Education or Training and might be less educated or less equipped with the skills to succeed and to have a better quality of life. As the prosperity of a nation and a community as the European space is given by the diversity of thoughts, ideas and actionable plans, its unprepared citizens that cannot cope with change might slow down the progress and exclude themselves from the society of tomorrow. The NEETs in Entrepreneurship project funded through the Fund for Youth Employment provides hope for the new generation, by providing them the tools, resources, and an actionable plan to become active members of their society.
Zettabytes of data cannot be transferred nor processed by humans alone, but humans must acquire the knowledge and wisely develop the skillset required on their future jobs. This is where the high return of investment in education lies. This is also where the NEETs in Entrepreneurship project comes into place, by providing hope for 1,600+ young NEET Europeans by focusing on 3 different core actionable tiers derived from Junior Achievement’s century-old expertise in working with young people. It is paramount for us to Inspire at least 1,600 youth to change their status quo by getting trained and helping them to acquire new skills. The following step is to Prepare 900 youth to find a job and open a new business. This all funnels down to the last step, of getting 50 of them to Succeed on their own and to open their own business that might also provide a more meaningful life to other young people.
It is acknowledged by regulators and international bodies such as the European Union and OECD that small business are the purveyors of welfare in a society. They provide the framework for all people regardless their skillset to feel valued, recognised by others, to live a meaningful life, thrive and generate growth. Thus, developing new skills for European citizens by working together with different organizations in Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Norway, Romania, and Spain and by receiving the guidance from the operators of the Fund for Youth Employment we are certain we are on the right path on strengthening the NEET human capital, their employability and competitiveness.
In the NEETs in Entrepreneurship project, as the name suggests, it is this competence, “entrepreneurship” at the core of the Inspire-Prepare-Succeed progression model that aims to create value for others by developing increased autonomy and responsibility, by harnessing opportunities not only from simple and predictable contexts, but also from complex and uncertain ones. While we cannot measure complexity in Zettabytes, we know for sure that every little step, each initiative taken by a NEET person is a great achievement towards coping with ambiguity, uncertainty, and risk, but more than this, it is a great success in working with others and learning through experience.
It is now, after 2 years in the project the moment we see the first NEET youth succeeding to launch their first businesses in Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Spain and even more young people being prepared enough to get successfully employed. Through the NEETs in Entrepreneurship project, using the FROG method, their innate entrepreneurial spirit has been awakened. This inner driver is the one that keeps them motivated and enthusiastic about learning more, acquiring more knowledge and engaging in virtual, face to face and on the job training courses. What could have been a better outcome to demonstrate that not even a pandemic can stop motivated people from pursuing their goals? We are looking forward to sharing inspiring stories and examples in the upcoming numbers of the Youth Employment Magazine.
It is our endeavour to run this IPS (Inspire-Prepare-Succeed) process in a sustainable and inclusive manner by setting realistic, attainable, and feasible development goals for all NEET people included in the project. While a society cannot be inhabited only by data scientists, we are all living in this Zettabyte world. It is us, all its members the ones that must value education, skills and know-how available today in a wise manner that insures they are transferred to the ones in need. This way we will all contribute to set the foundations of a sustainable, inclusive and prosperous society.
The NEETs in Entrepreneurship project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment. By the end of 2021, 1,600 NEETs in Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Spain will receive training and support to acquire the skills needed to find a job or start their own business.