Tackling the Challenge of Graduate Unemployment; A Personal Initiative
The nation`s universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions annually churn out a large pool of human resource (graduates) and that is essentially a good thing but the harsh reality is that, the job market in our beloved country is relatively small and is not expanding at a faster rate to absorb the large pool of graduates. Mr. Franklin Owusu-Karikari, CEO of Africa Collegiate Entrepreneurs (ACE) is on record to have made the following observations barely a few months ago: It is estimated that 250, 000 people including 68,000 fresh graduates from tertiary institutions seek employment in Ghana every year, out of which only 5,000 people, representing two percent of the total number, are employed by the formal sector. This suggests that annually, an estimated 98 percent of graduates are unable to secure jobs in the formal sector. This is obviously a gloomy picture but there certainly is hope. The adage, “where there is a will, there is a way” rings true.
The focus of this write-up is to challenge graduates to take the bull by the horn, taking their destinies into their own hands rather than resort to ‘pity parties’ and the ‘blame game’. Admittedly governments and educational institutions have significant roles to play and should do so but even where they fail in discharging their responsibilities, graduates simply can`t throw up their arms in despair or resort to illegal and diabolical means of making money. That is a no, no. There is a better way.
Take personal responsibility
It is heartwarming to note that in the face of the stark realities alluded to earlier; some young graduates have nonetheless ventured in to the world of entrepreneurship with little to no capital and yet have chalked momentous successes. The truth is that, some fail in their pursuit for varying reasons but it ought to be also established that many business start-ups in Ghana are doing quite well. Many young graduates have successfully established companies that are breaking even, making profits and offering employment opportunities to scores of others. It is at this backdrop I wish to entreat and encourage graduates to begin to consider venturing into entrepreneurial ventures. It was the famed scientist, Albert Einstein who once noted: "I am thankful for all those who said no to me. It`s because of them i`m doing it myself." When companies shut their doors at you, it is perhaps about time you create your own company.
Start all the same
Yes, the funds to start a business may not be available but you can find a way around this challenge. Research and explore; brainstorm and fine-tune concepts and ideas. Start small and start with what you have. That is how many global brands began. Many thriving companies today, began in people`s personal garages, homes, at street joints, on table tops and the likes. Consider the humble beginnings of these global brands: The Walt Disney Co. with the highest grossing media conglomerate started in a one-car garage that belonged to Walt Disney`s uncle, Robert Disney. Apple`s first computers were built in a small garage in Cupertino, California. Google was started in a 2,000 feet Menlo Park garage. Amazon was begun in a garage in Bellevue, Washington. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) was launched in a 12 by 18 foot garage in the back of the house its founders were renting.
Explore a variety of options
The important thing is to start where you are and with what you have. You may also consider freelancing (in your area of expertise) as a precursor to starting a fully fletched company. Take advantage of free advertising sites to promote your products, services or business. Read wide and research as much as you can in the line of business you may be interested in. The internet will be a helpful tool in this drive. Admittedly, it can be extremely tough but with a good idea, the requisite skill and knowledge base, a clear set of goals, focus, persistence and hard work, the idea that seemed implausible because of obvious monumental challenges will begin to take shape. It was Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple who once observed: “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
Consider strategically volunteering your services; be on the constant look out for opportunities to volunteer your services to industry players and to the movers and shakers of the specific industry you plan to work in. Be the best you can become in your chosen field with continues personal development. What you may not know is that in volunteering your services (at the beginner stage), you are building credibility, valuable business connections, honing your skills and in a certain sense marketing yourself, business, brand or service. It is important to note that as a graduate, you possess the mental fortitude, intellectual capacity, varied competences and an inherent ability to accomplish incredibly magnificent feats.
Written by Daniel Dela Dunoo