Future-proofing our youth: Five key takeaways

Today's youth are climbing an uphill battle like never before. But organizations like For Youth Initiative (FYI) are finding traction to create a brighter future. We spoke Shaneeza Nazseer Ally, executive director at FYI to understand what youth are facing and how to help advance solutions. Here are the five key takeaways. 

1. Youth are lagging in education and building essential skills 

Youth missed out on a lot during the pandemic from learning how to build relationships, to working through conflict and advocating for themselves. Most importantly, they lost the opportunity to build social capital. These are all skills vital to becoming independent young adults. Many students have also fallen behind in literacy and numeracy due to the unequal access to education and tutoring during the pandemic.

2. Workforce Readiness: Youth need more time and support 

For 30 years, FYI has been preparing youth for the workforce, but since the pandemic they’ve found they need to spend time building up youth’s confidence before they are even ready to start applying for jobs.   

3. Food insecurity is hampering youth development  

It’s hard to support youth when their basic needs are not met. We need systemic change, from tackling food waste to ensuring equitable access, to address this vital issue. 

4. Unrestricted funding facilitates access to education and jobs 

Organizations like FYI know their communities best. Unrestricted grants have allowed them to respond quickly and provide money for things that are not typically funded like CPR training to qualify for a job and fees for applying to post-secondary school. 

5. Areas to focus on: 

  1. Close education and literacy gaps that widened during the pandemic. Support tutoring programs or volunteer your time, expertise and skills. 
  2. Reduce financial barriers and increase mentorship to navigate post-secondary education and employment training. 
  3. Invest in skill-building programs that prepare youth to succeed in life and work. 
  4. Scale access to the workplace. Go beyond the “take your kid to work day” and expose youth to different career paths by inviting them into your workplaces to connect and learn.

Get more insights from Shaneeza here.