The 2nd Annual Digital Youth Festival

Digital Youth Festival

THE 2ND ANNUAL DIGITAL YOUTH FESTIVAL

Recently, we have been made aware of the fact that the unemployment rate dropped by 0.8% to 34.5% in the first quarter of 2022. But with that said, it is no secret that even though we experienced a slight decline, our youth remain vulnerable in the labour market. We can put the blame on a lot of things that might have resulted in the youth unemployment rate being high. Education system not producing individuals with the right expertise for the employment market, labour demand and supply mismatch, the results of the 2008/2009 global recession. The list goes on, but what are we doing?

We look at youth unemployment and we probably think to ourselves that it only affects that particular individual and their families. Let’s be real for a second, we are talking big numbers here and if we take the time to think about it, we will realise that this is a big problem, that greatly affects the broader community, including its growth and development. This has grave societal consequences, and when young people feel excluded, it often leads to social marginalisation, anxiety, and concern about the future.

From a community standpoint, youth unemployment has both social and economic effects, including decreased economic wellbeing, human capital erosion, social exclusion, criminality, and social instability.

To try and prevent or eliminate this, and obviously not overnight, organisations such as Africa Beyond 4IR (AB4IR) have made it their mission to contribute to change. To encourage the youth and show them how to leverage resources that are available to them, especially those in under-resourced communities,                                             the organisation is hosting a 2-day event called the

Digital Youth FestivalDigital Youth Festival

 

The purpose of this programme is to provide a platform that introduces South African youth to the various opportunities accessible in the digital creative sectors. This hybrid event will take place in three provinces: Gauteng, Limpopo, and the Eastern Cape, and will appeal to both physical and virtual guests.

This initiative aims to promote entrepreneurship, provide insight in relation to opportunities within the digital creatives industries sector, and ultimately introduce innovation and technology. The goal is also to encourage youth participation in the digital economy and ensure that our target audience starts embracing the power of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).

We, however, cannot talk entrepreneurship, 4IR, or digital opportunities without unpacking funding. Funding is vital for any business to get off the ground. Yes, part of the goals for the event is to encourage the youth to be entrepreneurs, but if funding solutions are not offered, then what is the point? We can preach to the youth and inspire them to stop seeking jobs and start creating them, but if we do not show them how to utilise resources to for example secure funding, the message will definitely fall on deaf ears.

A big part of the event will speak to funding and capacity building, and it is for this simple reason, money makes the world go round, right? But you need the skills to be able to handle the money.

To get a small business off the ground and keep it moving in the right direction you need the right competencies. This then makes capacity-building vital for individuals or groups to accomplish their mission and remain sustainable in the fast-paced and ever-changing business environment. To build capacity, the youth can engage in various activities, these include but are not limited to volunteering for organisations in sectors that are aligned to their end goals, securing an internship, or enrolling themselves in free or affordable practical training and courses that will instil the necessary knowledge and experience aligned to your objectives.

Through the event, the aim is to provide the youth with the necessary ingredients for great entrepreneurial success within the digital creative industries sector, and part of the first step is to show them how to acquire the skills.

The Digital Youth Festival will be a fun and interactive event that will expose young people to exhibitions and speakers from a variety of technical professions in the digital creative sector, as well as provide them with the opportunity to pitch business ideas. To capture the attention of the target audience, entertainment is important, and this will be done through indigenous games and the likes of eSport tournaments.

Africa Beyond 4IR (AB4IR) has recognised the significance of youth development initiatives, which are key to inclusive and sustainable growth. These initiatives allow the youth to be the drivers of the required transformation and make them responsible for their own positive economic and social outcomes. These programs help to alleviate poverty, inequality, and economic and conflict-related migration.

In the words of Graça Machel, “Preventing the conflicts of tomorrow means changing the mindset of youths today.” This in simple terms, is what the Digital Youth Festival aspires to achieve.

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