World Youth Skills Day
According to the United Nations, young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labour market inequalities, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions.
This year the UN’s observance of the World Youth Skills Day will shed light on the mechanisms needed to operationalize lifelong learning.
As of 2018, there were 1.8 billion youth worldwide between the ages of 15 and 29. Yet, population and future growth rates are unevenly distributed. Once a driver of growth, Asia’s youth population has largely stabilized. Meanwhile, the youth population in Africa is accelerating rapidly, and is expected to represent more than half of the youth population increase by 2050.
According to the Education Commission, it is predicted that by 2030, more than half of the nearly 2 billion youth worldwide will not have the skills or qualifications necessary to participate in the emerging global workforce. In practical terms, this translates to more than 50 percent of tomorrow’s human capital being potentially unprepared to enter the workforce.
One of the central part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is education and training; it 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 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.
“It’s important for young people to have foundational skills and transferable skills that can be applied in various fields and practices. Education systems tend to be theoretical, and young people don’t have sufficient opportunities for practice, linking what they learn with the realities in the world of work”, said the Head of the International Labour Organisation’s Green Jobs Programme, Moustapha Kamal Gueye.
Countries need to also focus on technical and vocational skills in order to address the skills gap in the design of education and training. According to new research by LinkedIn, by 2022, technology is expected to have wiped out 75 million jobs and created 133 million new ones globally. Technology plays an increasingly important role in our lives, professional and otherwise, and indeed confers significant advantages from a corporate point of view.
On the topic of workforce development, here is what the youth had to say according to a report done as a result of a collaboration between Deloitte Global and the Global Business Coalition for Education in support of the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative;
- The skills important for the future of work include work readiness skills, soft skills, technical skills, and entrepreneurial skills.
- Improvement is needed in the approach to youth skill development, such as making learning and training interactive, multicultural, engaging, constructive, and practical.
- Barriers to skill development and employment include lack of access to resources, lack of knowledge about careers and skills needed, lack of opportunities, tools and training, adult beliefs in youths’ abilities (mindsets), and systemic issues.
- There is a misalignment in the skills that youth acquire and the demand for skills needed in the workforce.
- The responsibility to prepare youth for future jobs rests in part in the hands of government, nonprofits, the business community, schools, and civic society.
- Workforce development efforts should consider country specifics, incorporate up-to-date skill training methodologies, engage youth to solve problems, and see the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) as an opportunity.