VSO & Randstad organize roundtable on the future of work in Africa

Every seat was taken. VSO and its corporate partner Randstad organized the event, hosted at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with participation from the Directorates Sustainable Economic Development (DDE) and Social Development (DSO) and moderated by NABC’s Deputy Director Marina Diboma. Also Achmea Foundation, Philips, PUM and the Maastricht School of Management (MSM) shared key emerging trends and insights on the future of work and discussed strategies on how to best prepare youth in low income countries for employment and entrepreneurship. African youth from Tanzania shared ambitions, challenges and solutions via a short video message.

Trends in the Future of Work

Technological progress has been a crucial driver of transformation and thus for the future of work, so stated MSM in a desk study for VSO Netherlands. Recent breakthroughs in ICT are fundamentally changing the nature of work through automation. Though beyond this technological revolution, being reffered to as the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), other key trends are shaping the future of work. Socio-Economic drivers, like rapid urbanization and rise of middle class, and the shift towards a green economy following on growing demand for sustainability in production and consumption, will heavily influence work in both developed and developing countries.

‘With VSO, we are making the world a better place, but together with VSO we will try a bit harder and make it even better.’ – Jacques van den Broek, CEO Randstad

Impact on jobs for marginalized youth

The disruption of traditional models and a different business landscape will significantly impact on where work is done, who does it and how the value created is shared. For Africa, technology could for instance improve productivity of agriculture, but also help formalize the informal sector by using platform business models to link service providers to buyers and also to provide a way to rate and pay for services. In this regard, the future of work can bring many opportunities for young people in Africa.

Skills needed for the Future of Work

But is Africa’s private sector prepared for the competitive landscape that comes with 4IR? And what about the levels of education to teach African youth the appropriate skills, like Science Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) but also business and entrepreneurship skills and social skills? VSO aims for a world without poverty, and focuses on both the supply and demand side of the labour market. Through its Employment and Entrepreneurship approach, VSO ensures youth have the right technical and soft skills, with a focus on the most marginalized in society. On the demand side, through its Enterprise Development & Job Creation approach, VSO supports Small Growing Businesses to have the right information, access to services and (technological) tools to grow and create more income and more jobs. To finally bring supply and demand on the labour market together. Here, the specialized skills and knowledge in recruitment and HR solutions of VSO’s partner Randstad, are extremely valuable in supporting people and organizations to realize their true potential.

VSO and Randstad

This year, Randstad and VSO celebrate 15 years of partnership. Since the start of this unique collaboration, 226 Randstad employees have been on placement abroad to share their knowledge and skills during 180,000 hours of corporate volunteering which equates to 22,500 working days or 86 years of work. Since 2016, the focus has been on employability for marginalised youth. In 2018, the support of Randstad reached over 4,000 marginalised youth with employability coaching, career guidance, job matching and business development services. The partnership contributes to Randstad’s ambition to touch the work of 500 million people in 2030, related to SDG 8.

‘It is a huge challenge to provide employment opportunities for youth in Africa. We can only do this together with the best available knowledge and commitment from companies, NGOs and governments. VSO sees the partnership with Randstad as a strategic pact to collaborate on creating better opportunities for youth in Africa.’ – Erik Ackerman, Director VSO Netherlands