Getting an education isn’t a guarantee that your child will get a job after graduating…
31% of graduates in South Africa are reportedly unable to find work. This is up from 19,5% from Q4 last year. The writing is clearly on the wall: our young people need a Plan B. Unemployment among South African youth stands at a whopping 55%, making 15 – 24 year olds the most vulnerable group in the country.
Turning job seekers into job creators doesn’t happen overnight. It requires an attitudinal shift that needs to be inculcated among our children from a very early age. Positively there has been much support for including entrepreneurship in the curriculum, with President Cyril Ramaphosa adding his two cents in November last year at the Investment Conference when he publicly said he would like to see entrepreneurship taught in schools to develop a culture of self-employment from an early age.
While the debate to include entrepreneurship as a subject continues, caregivers and parents can step in and teach their children how to become self-sufficient, creative, innovative and resilient – all top traits of an entrepreneur.
Here Cate Williams, Senior Brand Manager from Retail Capital, an alternative small business funder, shares her top tips on how:
No matter your age, setting goals is a powerful tool that provides a sense of accomplishment and can also build self-esteem. They are also an integral part to entrepreneurial success and research has shown that written goals are 80 percent more likely to be achieved. The sooner a child learns how to set a realistic goal, plan and follow-through in implementation, the better.
Engaging kids in goal-setting can be as simple as asking them to write down their top 10 goals, and to then choose one that will have the most impact on their life. Next, encourage them to create mini-goals or steps that will help them accomplish the goals, and get them going on their tasks straight away. This will impact the child’s self-worth, self-drive and sense of achievement.
2. Understand the money, honey
Kids are known for not understanding the value of money, so teaching them about finances from an early age gives them a foundation that they are unlikely to get at school.
The most effective way to develop financial skills is to give them incentives to save. Parents can also empower them to pay at the till point by giving them cash to give to the cashier. Or older children can be given the responsibility of going into a shop to buy a few items, and manage the payment too.
Giving a child tasks to do at home, in return for a small pay, also works wonders as they will learn the value of money by having to work for it.
3. Selling ice to an Eskimo
This is an ability we should all learn as it applies to almost every business interaction. From selling goods and services, to raising capital from investors, this is a lifelong skill.
Get the kids involved in selling early on. For instance, work with them to sell their old toys or clothes on Gumtree in return for a small profit. Or help them bake homemade treats to sell at school. Whatever the product, get them to decide on a price, sell to the customer – whether on or offline – and let them manage the transaction from start to finish. This will not only give them confidence in their abilities, but will double-up in teaching them about money.
4. Have a real conversation
Children and adults alike are losing the ability to talk to each other thanks to social media and text messaging. Correct this at home: teach kids how to be confident in their communication whether in person, or on the phone (encourage them to actually call someone and not WhatsApp). Tell them to speak boldly, slowly and to articulate their points convincingly and encourage situations in which your child needs to speak to others.
Teaching children to talk properly will put them in good stead in business and in their personal relationships, especially as the art of conversation is being lost thanks to the impact of technology.
5. There is no “I” in team
Being able to work in a team is also a critical skill that needs to be encouraged from a young age. No-one is entirely self-sufficient so learning how to engage with and even rely on others is an important strategy to learn. Successful entrepreneurs are renowned for delegating tasks – Sir Richard Branson is a case in point – so encouraging kids to play with others with a view to reach a common goal is good practice.
Playing sport is an effective way to teach teamwork too as it allows players to deal with successes and losses, a key trait of being an entrepreneur especially when failure is par for the course. In fact failure is a great thing if a positive lesson is learned from the process. Allowing kids to fail will help them create new ways to accomplish their goals and learn from their mistakes.
These are just a few top tips on how to teach your children to be self-sufficient, confident and independent, all skills that will put them in good stead on the journey to being an entrepreneur. As a parent, you play a vital role in shaping your child for their future. With jobs becoming scarcer and scarcer, it is essential that young people are equipped with how to create employment options for themselves – their training starts at home.