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Youth volunteerism: building capacity among young people in agriculture

Developing the agricultural landscape in Africa needs specialized skills in various areas such as Project Management, Commercial Crop Production, Seed Technology, Agricultural Equipment Maintenance Engineers, Plant and Animal Breeders, Lab Technologist and so many other expert fields. The gap between skilled and unskilled labour in the agricultural field, especially in Africa, calls for prompt response among organisations that have their vision built around achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

There is no doubt that volunteerism is invaluable to our society. Nonprofits have a finite period of time before we’ll need to pass the torch of giving back to tomorrow’s leaders—our youth. Career exploration or decision for young people comes in various forms, such as career assessments, job shadowing and internships.

How about volunteering for career exploration?

There are benefits for youth who take the initiative to use volunteering as a method for career exploration. Just like internships, volunteering allows youth to build skills, gain experience and gain support. It also helps them to develop the inner motivation needed in our modern day work environment and other opportunities for mentoring in specific areas of interest.

Youth can start by thinking of the various careers they might be interested in and thinking of ways they can volunteer with respect to the various career fields they perceive. A good place to start if someone is unsure of their career interests is to take a career assessment.

A close mentor can always provide the needed guidance to help young people answer questionnaire guides when deciding which career path to choose.

Career assessments are guides that give young people direction by taking an evaluation or questionnaire on their interests and skills. Career assessments can be a good place to start not only for a potential career field but also in taking a step toward a career field through volunteering.

Once various career interests are discovered, young people can locate different organizations or businesses in their community that may cater to their career interest. Considering the different business and service organizations in the community, young people should take the initiative to contact them and find out if there are opportunities to volunteer.

Usually, some service organizations and businesses have an application and orientation process which prospective volunteers must go through to become volunteers. This type of process is good practice for young people and exposes them to the process of applying for employment.

Other organisations should also open their doors to young people who apply for such opportunities in their company as a way of investing back into their community.

Any young person pursuing any career after university or high school should consider taking the steps of volunteering in order to experience the benefits of volunteering as a method for career exploration.

Photo Credit: World Bank (Flickr)