The Podcast

To imagine a youth-centered future of work and set out practical steps to achieve it, we need to bring different voices together: the youth, the private sector, and civil societies.

Latest episode:

Episode 5

The Future of Work Is Digital

“Digital transition must be inclusive; marginalised groups, such as women, youth and low-income workers, cannot be left behind. So when the private sector is designing solutions, it should adapt its strategies to meet the specific needs of these groups.”

Carolijn Gommans, Business Development Expert

Digital work is rising globally. Technological developments introduce new trends and opportunities in the labour market while making certain jobs obsolete. The shifts technology initiates lay the foundation for a new future of work – a digital future.

In this episode, we dive deep into the concept of digital transition and jobtech and explore its impact on making work accessible and inclusive. The episode also illustrates the tangible positive outcomes some businesses created for African youth through technology.

The speakers

Christopher Maclay

Chris is passionate about employment, technology, and start-ups. He’s currently Mercy Corps’ Program Director at the Jobtech Alliance, an ecosystem-building initiative bringing together start-ups, support organizations, and funders working on the future of work and the platform economy. He has spent over a decade working in the youth employment and economic development space in Africa, Asia, and his native UK, working with NGOs, donors, and the private sector. Most recently, he was Chief Operating Officer at Lynk, the Kenyan gig matching platform for informal workers.

Taha Bawa

Taha leads Goodwall, a social enterprise closing the global youth skills gap. Goodwall’s platform supports over 2 million youth in 150+ countries to develop and demonstrate their skills, and connects them to learning and earning opportunities. He is a WEF Global Shaper, Forbes 30under30 and a member of Young Presidents’ Organisation. He participates in Adecco Foundation’s Advisory and Generation Unlimited’s Global Leadership Council. He studied at the Universities of Oxford and Lausanne.

Carolijn Gommans

Carolijn Gommans is a development economist who has lived and worked for over 25 years in East and Southern Africa. She is a connector who loves to find solutions that consider the perspectives of different stakeholders and jointly design practical solutions that are grounded in data. She is excited about the positive impact she has seen digital technologies bring to women and people living in rural communities and the great opportunities it offers to young people. Carolijn leads the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment’s learning agenda on ‘ The Future of Work’ is digital. Previously she advised the largest bank in Zambia, Zanaco, on their digital strategy that enabled the bank to be present in all of Zambia’s districts.

Asante Omeke

Asante Omeke is a 16-year-old Ugandan who is doing her International IB at the United World College Maastricht, Netherlands. She was selected to present her Hope for Uganda at the inaugural ILX forum before an audience of investment bankers and pension fund managers, where she inspired them with her bold yet hopeful aspirations for Ugandan youth.

Episode 4

A blended approach to volunteering

“Having a national volunteer that was able to bring me up to speed with cultural differences and how to get around them made for absolutely better results.”

Suzy Horsfall, international volunteer

Blended volunteering is indispensable for ensuring innovative and culturally resonant projects. In this episode, we explore why this approach is so successful in creating decent and sustainable employment for youth. We are joined by researchers, national and international volunteers and private sector representatives to unpack the complexity of the approach and gather practical insights.

The speakers

Inge Boudewijn

Inge Boudewijn is a post-doctoral research fellow at Northumbria University’s Centre for International Development. She is a feminist, interdisciplinary academic, drawing from geography, sociology and anthropology and participatory, creative methodologies. Her interests include volunteering, women’s activism, and natural resource management. She is committed to qualitative research conducted through feminist and creative methodologies and is interested in decolonising the research process. Inge is part of Northumbria University’s research team on the ‘Volunteering Together: Blending knowledge and skills for development’ project. The team has worked to develop creative, participatory approaches and methods with VSO country offices and local researchers in Tanzania, Uganda and Nepal, to ask how different types of volunteers working together creates better development outcomes.

Alok Rath

Dr. Alok Rath is an international development Expert with over 25 years of work experience in Asia, Africa, and the UK. A thought leader and researcher in Volunteering for Development as a sustainable and effective development methodology, Dr. Rath has been a contributor at several international development platforms, including as a speaker at the UN’s first High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York in 2016. He has a Ph.D. in Anthropology with research in the area of cultural ecology. Dr. Rath has authored/co-authored 18+ research papers and articles in journals and books in social science and international development while working with grassroots organisations to international development organisations such as Action Aid, Save the Children and currently with VSO, where he leads programme research, evaluations, people-led learning and knowledge management.


Suzy Horsfall

Suzy has more than ten years of L&D experience at Randstad. She is qualified in coaching, NLP, virtual training design, psychometric assessment, CertRP and CIPD L&D level5. She has designed and facilitated thousands of hours of training and led teams of trainers offering programs including; onboarding, recruitment skills, soft skills, management and leadership development and Challenger sales.

In 2021 Suzy spent seven months in Uganda through VSO, working on a CFYE project with Healthy Entrepreneurs. Currently the global Lead for leadership and management development at Randstad enterprise solutions, Suzy is passionate about learning in all forms, enabling employees to reach their full potential.

Joost van Engen

Rhona Achieng

Episode 3

The case for decent work

“This is the time to leave no one behind because we can’t simply afford it anymore. We need all the talent on the labour market.”

What is decent work? What do young people value in employment? What role does a living income play in making a job decent? In this episode, decent work experts and youth underline what decent and meaningful work means and, more importantly, what the risks are of not prioritizing decent work as an employer. The episode explores some practical steps employers can take to provide young people with decent jobs.

The speakers

Patience Kikoni

Patience has over 15 years of experience managing economic growth and social investment programmes across Africa. She is currently the Country Lead for the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment in Uganda, overseeing the portfolio and project delivery in the country. Patience previously worked as a Senior Technical Advisor for the UK-funded NU-TEC Market System Development Program, which aimed at supporting agribusinesses in Northern Uganda to increase investment and job creation. Her other focus areas have been supporting small and growing businesses in East Africa to transition to more entrepreneurial and investment-ready models.

Sonja van Lieshout

As head of global public affairs at Randstad, Sonja is responsible for global public affairs with a focus on developing the global strategic public affairs agenda, including advocacy, strategic stakeholder engagement, and thought leadership. Her network consists of, amongst others, the ILO, IOE, OECD, European Institutions, business networks, think tanks, academia, and social partners such as central employers organizations and Trade Unions in the ecosystem of the world of work. As a member of the global board of the World Employment Confederation and the Executive Committee, her main drive is strategically contributing to the development of the employment & recruitment industry on both global and European levels. Next to this, she chairs the European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on behalf of the employers. In her private life, she is a member of the Executive Board of the UP Foundation, an organization focussing on the well-being of parents of special needs children, ensuring these parents are provided with relaxing and inspiring moments, not thinking of their care-taking responsibilities in order to return fully recharged to their families.

Episode 2

For youth, by youth, with youth

“For youth, by youth, with youth means not only inviting youth to the table but allowing them to have active participation at the table.”

Engaging youth is indispensable for creating meaningful jobs for young people; it also adds significant business value, creating a competitive advantage for businesses. In this episode, we uncover how youth participation makes a win-win scenario for young people and private entities and how we can authentically engage with youth to avoid tokenism.

The speakers

Essene Tighe

Having started as a youth volunteer on an overseas development programme in India, Shiny now has almost ten years of experience in working with youth, with a focus on the practice of meaningful youth engagement. She is passionate about working with committees of young people to co-design and set up large global youth networks, tackling issues that affect young people. Having worked for both the private and public sectors, Essene (Shiny) has developed effective and innovative strategies, methods, and tools to support and advise young people and organizations to understand and embed meaningful youth engagement in the context of their organisation, programme, and project. Since meaningful youth engagement is a term that is still relatively new to a lot of organisations, Shiny has developed human-centered design techniques to ensure youth and organisations are at the centre of designing meaningful youth engagement practices.

Lisette Westerhuis

Lisette is a social investment strategist and owner of an impact consultancy firm.

In her early twenties, she left for Tanzania, where her passion for combining impact and business was born, and she turned a leading social business around to profitability within the first year. Now, she works on solving some of the most pressing challenges and finding high-impact solutions for and with diverse teams at leading impact investors and social investment funds across emerging markets. Lisette is a true believer in the business value of investing in impact and the competitive advantage a young and inclusive workforce can create.

Episode 1

Youth unemployment and the future of jobs

“Young people are becoming more assertive and speaking up. This encourages private organizations to listen to them and take them seriously.”

Youth unemployment is growing in Africa. Every year, around 12 million young people enter the labour market, while only 3 million jobs are created. The magnitude of the problem means new innovative approaches become necessary to tackle this issue. This episode outlines how the employment market looks in Kenya and Nigeria, what opportunities the economies create, and how youth’s potential can be a driving force in finding solutions.

The speakers

Joost Verwilghen

Joost has been working in international development for over 25 years, mainly managing and supporting private development initiatives to promote economic growth and reduce poverty. Over the years, he has worked directly with private sector companies as well as on Market Systems Development programs for a range of funders and clients. Currently, Joost is the Team Leader of the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment, a fund supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Beatrice Gichohi

Beatrice is a business development professional with more than 15 years of experience in supporting organizations to develop agile solutions in HR, Financial Management, Marketing, access to finance and markets, as well as overall entrepreneurship. She has supported youth employment initiatives in the past through skills development, mentorship, and business development support for youth-led SMEs. She holds an MBA in strategic management and Human Resource management.

Nneka Enwonwu

Nneka is a private sector development consultant with over 21 years of experience delivering high-quality services to clients in the private and public sectors and donor agencies, including the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office), Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, World Bank, and the International Finance Corporation. She has worked in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture/agro-processing, oil and gas, education, and financial services and has supported employment creation initiatives in those sectors. For the last two years, Nneka has worked on a large youth employment programme and provides technical support to various organisations implementing youth employment projects in Nigeria.


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Meet the host

Kevin Eustatia

Youth Policy Advisor, Kevin Eustatia, invites different guests to discuss the most pressing issues in youth employment.

Kevin is a Youth Engagement Expert and consultant. He has spent years working in and with governments, NGOs, and companies to promote and implement meaningful youth participation (MYP) within their policies and strategies. He is currently a member of the Youth Advisory Committee of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he advises the Ministry on their foreign policy relating to development cooperation from a youth perspective. He was born and raised in Curaçao, where he experienced first-hand how detrimental the systemic lack of youth engagement can be. He has been fighting for meaningful youth participation ever since.

About this podcast

Future Economies Start with Youth

Youth employment conversations are multi-faceted and complex. That is why, we have created a new space to explore the richness of these topics: our Future Economies Start with Youth podcast.

Through this initiative, we aim to highlight youth perspectives and dive deep into the structural roadblocks in youth employment. What are the challenges youth face when looking for a job? What are their personal stories? How can companies work with youth to navigate employment barriers?

Future Economies Start with Youth will unite experts and young people and encourage them to establish joint visions for a future of decent employment for youth.

In each episode, Youth Policy Advisor, Kevin Eustatia, invites different guests to discuss the most pressing issues in youth employment. Watch episodes on decent work, inclusion, gender equality, youth engagement, and much more below!

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