Bangladesh has made notable strides in its economic development over the last decade. The country has been able to maintain a steady growth rate which is both commendable and provokes thoughts. With increased growth rate comes the burden of its sustainability. And to sustain the growth rate we need skilled resources as well as ample employment opportunity. Notably, every developed nation uses its youth to expand economic development and growth. With the added advantage of the demographic dividend, Bangladesh needs to co-ordinate its workforce to realize development opportunities. Now the question arises, how to co-ordinate this relatively inexperienced and young workforce? Several such co-ordinating programs exist in the international arena. Youth opportunities or youth leadership programs are such coordinating and guiding programs that aim to develop the personal engagement skills and responsibilities of an individual. The goal is to prepare an individual to be a responsible citizen as well as take initiatives and lead them for community development. So how does it affect or why is it necessary in the current economic or social situation of Bangladesh? The answer is very simple, skill generation of the youth and ensuring proper utilization of demographic dividend. Lack of real-world and work-related experience somewhat undermines the personal skills of an individual in our country. There are several steps involved in this development opportunity. First and foremost, skill generation focuses on personal development. An individual is trained to develop strong personal values as well as a sense of ownership. This not only makes an individual confident and knowledgeable regarding personal capabilities but ensures that it can be infused in others through peer contact. Secondly, personal development reflects on community development. Another important aspect of the youth leadership program is to thrust the youths in a leadership position within their community. Responsible youth can take community decisions based on fresh ideas and innovative thinking. Besides communities and organizations can reap the benefit of enthusiasm and energy that a young mind brings to the table. But the true goal here is to groom leaders for the future. This is like the stepping stone, the first step towards realizing that youths are the future of any nation. And developing the youths with proper leadership qualities will simply ensure that the nation is on the right track. Easy access to education and economic expansion made the job market highly competitive. Every organization wants to hire the best minds. Even though there are ample jobs, the youths are failing to utilize them for lack of competency. Youth leadership programs can groom an individual in a way that makes them competitive for the job market as well as develops entrepreneurial skills. That is, a skilled youth doesn’t need to pursue jobs, rather they can start their ventures and create jobs for others along the way. There are several leadership programs available in Bangladesh. Some are run on domestic initiatives and others as part of international programs. Regardless, these programs offer great insight and personal development opportunities. Leadership skills would help individuals become a true asset for the nation as well as making them an important tool for economic freedom and growth.
Author: Shahriar Rabab