His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen has called on the youth to create a different set of opportunities, beyond what is currently available, rather than just waiting for a comfortable job, or a corporate ladder to climb.

In a sabda at the recent BIBD Youth Empowerment Summit (BIBD YES!), HRH said that the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects will put youth’s resilience to the test.

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“Jobs that you may have wanted when you were younger may not be there in the future,” said HRH to over 300 youth participants.

HRH also cited government figures that show the national unemployment rate stands at 6.8 percent and youth unemployment at 21.3 percent.

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“There is no doubt our youths face a future marked by a greater sense of uncertainty,” he said.

HRH also applauded the government for implementing programmes to re-train and up-skill the youth, such as the i-Ready apprenticeships and SkillsPlus.

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“I encourage you to explore these initiatives, to expose yourselves to new industries and build new skill sets, constantly improving yourselves.”

HRH strongly believes that Brunei’s youth can build new corporations that will be future engines of our society.

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“The youth, their vibrant energy and fresh perspectives can contribute vitality and creativity to emerging social and economic challenges that Brunei face.”

The prince further said that youth-led organisations have come up with ideas and solutions to tackle issues such as public transport, food security and sustainable energy, among others.

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“These young people should be recognised for the work they are doing to create real change in our society – change that will make an impact not just today, but also to help us deal with the challenges of the future.”

HRH continued: “We want to develop new industries that will future-proof our economy. One example is investing in our creative industries. This was an issue close to my late brother’s heart.”

Globally, the creative industries employ more people aged 15 to 29 than any other sector, he added.

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“There are a lot of young people in Brunei who are passionate about the arts, who have started their own creative agencies, production companies and more. They have moved beyond the usual path and out of their comfort zone to make a change,” said HRH.

Moreover, the prince also praised the youths for being in the forefront volunteering in the midst of the pandemic, helping those in need – from distributing food supplies to healthcare workers and to raising funds for communities.

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“However, this spirit of identifying the needs in the community is only the beginning, working hard to fill the gap is what will set you apart when you leave school or graduate from college.”

“The results you obtain and the certificates you receive will not be as significant as working for a greater purpose that you are passionate about. I, myself was not a brilliant student but I found my passion in the Army, serving my country,” said HRH.

On his part, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, who is also the Chairman of BIBD Board of Directors, in his remarks said that the summit served as a platform for the youth to learn from outstanding young role models, as well as providing an opportunity to network, learn and interact with local industry players.

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“This summit hopes to encourage everyone to start taking action now because we do not need to wait to hold a certain position or land a certain job to start making our mark,” said the minister.

He also urged participating youth to capitalise on the platform to generate opportunities and pave their way to be a successful generation that will contribute to the development and success of Brunei.

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The two-day summit consisted of plenary sessions with 50 different speakers, ranging from Brunei-based speakers and international speakers, covering topics that highlighted the power that the youth holds, further strengthening the need to empower the youth’s mindsets.

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

BIBD YES! is the first summit of its kind in Brunei that combines both physical and virtual participation by both speakers and delegates, simultaneously broadcasted to 24 different schools to hundreds of students, while more than 300 students physically attending at the JIS Arts Centre.

This article was first published on December 19, 2020 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 120



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