n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Focusing on the 'human' in human capital : positive youth development as a foundation for maximising human capital investment




Although human capital as a concept is covered in great detail in the economics and human resources literatures, efforts to understand human aspects of it are lacking, and little attention seems to be paid to how human differences affect the outcome of human capital investments. This article attempts to look at how positive youth development can have great benefits to those interested in the development of human capital in young people towards preparing them for professional life. The article argues that the positive youth development approach is an effective strategy for building human assets and competencies for maximising human capital, and turning inputs (training and education) into future 'value added' for organisations, businesses and communities. Assets and competencies can also be understood as one's internal infrastructure, that is, attitude, mental capacity, willingness and desire to learn, thinking ability, morality and ethics, work ethic, resiliency, coping abilities and the like. The stronger the internal 'infrastructure' of the individual, the more likely human capital inputs will be maximised. It is proposed that the concepts presented in the paper be further developed through research that examines how and to what extent exposure to developmental supports and opportunities shape young workers' potential and actual human capital enhancement.


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