Today, there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 per cent of the global population. The active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is central to achieving sustainable, inclusive and stable societies by the target date, and to averting the worst threats and challenges to sustainable development, including the impacts of climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender inequality, conflict, and migration. However, young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labor market inequalities, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions. In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed and under-paid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts.
Traditionally organized by the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Sri Lanka, together with UNESCO, ILO and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, this year the UN’s observance of the WYSD will shed light on the mechanisms needed to operationalize lifelong learning.
Some 73 million young people are currently unemployed, with 40 million joining the labour market each year. To tackle the problem, at least 475 million new jobs need to be created over the next decade.
The Day is important to The Youth Cafe because rising youth unemployment is seen as one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies in today’s world, for developed and developing countries alike. Some 73 million young people are currently unemployed, with 40 million joining the labour market each year. To tackle the problem, at least 475 million new jobs need to be created over the next decade.
The Youth Cafe calls for skills for all
However, data suggests that many graduates are ill-prepared for the world of work, and the UN is working to ensure that as many young people as possible have the skillset to prosper in the job market.
Education and training are central part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to end poverty and inequality, whilst preserving the planet. Goal 4 of the Agenda is to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
A significant aspect of Goal 4 is the development of technical and vocational education and training. Improving access to these skills is expected to address economic, social and environmental demands, by helping youth and adults develop the skills they need for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
The Youth Cafe believes that these skills can equip youth with the skills required to access the world of work, and start their own businesses; and make young people more resilient in the face of a market that demands more flexibility, helping to increase productivity and increase wage levels.
They can also reduce access barriers to the world of work, through work-based learning, and ensuring that skills gained are recognised and certified; and offer skills development opportunities for low-skilled people who are unemployed.
Why is World Youth Skills Day important to The Youth Cafe?
Rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies in today’s world, for developed and developing countries alike. At least 475 million new jobs need to be created over the next decade to absorb the 73 million youth currently unemployed and the 40 million new annual entrants to the labour market. At the same time, OECD surveys suggest that both employers and youth consider that many graduates are ill-prepared for the world of work. Attaining decent work is a significant challenge. In many countries, the informal sector and traditional rural sector remains a major source of employment. The number of workers in vulnerable employment currently stands at 1.44 billion worldwide. Workers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia account for more than half this number, with three out of four workers in these regions subject to vulnerable employment conditions.
The international community has set an ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It calls for an integrated approach to development which recognises that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions; combating inequality within and among countries; preserving the planet; creating inclusive and sustainable economic growth; achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men; and ensuring full gender equality and fostering social inclusion, are interdependent.
What role does technical and vocational education and training play?
Education and training are central to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. The vision of the Incheon Declaration: Education 2030 is fully captured by Sustainable Development Goal 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Education 2030 devotes considerable attention to technical and vocational skills development, specifically regarding access to affordable quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET); the acquisition of technical and vocational skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship; the elimination of gender disparity and ensuring access for the vulnerable. In this context, TVET is expected to address the multiple demands of an economic, social and environmental nature by helping youth and adults develop the skills they need for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, promoting equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and supporting transitions to green economies and environmental sustainability.
TVET can equip youth with the skills required to access the world of work, including skills for self-employment. TVET can also improve responsiveness to changing skill-demands by companies and communities, increase productivity and increase wage levels. TVET can reduce access barriers to the world of work, for example through work-based learning, and ensuring that skills gained are recognised and certified. TVET can also offer skills development opportunities for low-skilled people who are under- or unemployed, out of school youth and individuals not in education, employment and training (NEETs).
The Skills Development Package “Learning and Working” is now available for download in English and French.
This resource kit developed by UNESCO-UNEVOC aims to help facilitate the organization and implementation of awareness and motivation campaigns for marginalized groups in least developed countries.
The idea behind this tool is to produce an environment to motivate people living in adverse economic conditions to enrol in technical and vocational education and training courses and take up self-employment activities in order to improve their economic situation.
The backbone of the Skills Development Package “Learning and Working” is a set of short films. These are complemented by a series of documents that support the activities presented in the films: an Overview, a Campaign Flyer, Information for Stakeholders, a Facilitator Guide and an Activity Checklist. The Package is in itself not a tool for skills development, but rather an ‘eye opener’ and ‘discussion starter’. It is anticipated that targeted groups will be encouraged to engage in tasks similar to those shown in the films.