Canon Middle East has announced the launch of first-of-its-kind AKTASHIF programme in the GCC to encourage youth to ‘Discover Your Passion’ and create the next generation of storytellers and content creators in the region.
Launched to coincide with World Youth Skills Day on July 15, AKTASHIF complements the global initiative to empower youth and highlight the significance of their contributions in overcoming economic and social challenges. World Youth Skills Day is a joint initiative by UNESCO-UNEVOC, which aims to recognise the importance of training and upskilling opportunities, as well as work and entrepreneurial prospects.
AKTASHIF will offer youth in the region the chance to get ahead and face modern-day challenges through relevant training and mentorship. The programme will primarily target 14 to 24-year-olds in the Middle East and provide a focal point for ‘Generation Z’ to develop their interests, strengthen their creativity and inculcate in them the spirit of entrepreneurship. The community-oriented initiative is designed to equip young people with the tools and techniques to unleash creative careers.
As part of AKTASHIF, Canon Middle East is launching an annual competition where students can submit their business ideas online until December 2020. The best three entries will be highlighted and receive prizes. The Grand Prize winner will receive AED 15,000 cash prize, AED 15,000-worth of Canon products and annual membership of a local entrepreneurship incubator to get their creative business idea off the ground. The ideas can be promoted on Instagram, using hashtag #FreeYourStory and #CanonME
Mai Youssef, Corporate Communications and Marketing Services Director, Canon Middle East and Central and North Africa, said: “AKTASHIF means ‘discover’ and with this initiative, we are enabling young people in our region to identify their passion and unlock their true potential. This defines a key element of our organisational purpose with nurturing ‘ambitions,’ being a key pillar of our corporate responsibility programme. With AKTASHIF, we are directly reaching out to the youth of today – the business leaders of tomorrow.”
She added: “Canon’s support for entrepreneurship and incubation extends beyond countries and timelines, it is written into our DNA. We also see AKTASHIF as an integral piece in addressing the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4, which stipulates the importance of quality education and learning opportunities for all.”
The programme is designed to boost young adults’ skills, as research shows most youth are looking to change careers every three years and 60 per cent are not truly engaged in their current jobs and would consider different careers; AKTASHIF helps sharpen their focus in young people to develop skillsets and career choices that most resonate to them.
AKTASHIF has four modules (Discover Your Creative Voice, Start Your Creative Journey, Pursue Your Creative Passion, and Unleash your Creative Career). Collectively, these will lead the participants through the process of designing and launching a successful creative business.
The first module challenges participants to find their artistic voices whereas the second and third modules will guide them through the process of developing a business concept and portfolio, and the fourth module will help them to launch their own enterprise and build a website. With digital media being central in engaging the youth in the region, each module will include video episodes, providing insights for content creators and creative entrepreneurs. The aim of each module is to elevate participants to the next level allowing them to discover their ambition and pursue their career.
AKTASHIF will also feature esteemed mentors from the region, including storyteller Clinton Lubbe, Canon’s UAE-based ambassador, photographer and film maker, who will guide participants with techniques to master their craft.
Participants looking to develop specific skills in photography and printing can take part in ‘deep dive’ virtual masterclasses designed specifically for their age group, while those wanting to pursue other interests can explore a range of opportunities.