In 2014, the UN declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
Since then, World Youth Skills Day has provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organisations, policy-makers and development partners.
World Youth Skills Day 2022 takes place amid concerted efforts toward socio-economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that are interconnected with challenges such as climate change, conflict, persisting poverty, rising inequality, rapid technological change, demographic transition and others.
Young women and girls, young persons with disabilities, youth from poorer households, rural communities, indigenous peoples, and minority groups, as well as those who suffer the consequences of violent conflict and political instability, continue to be excluded due to a combination of factors. In addition, the crisis has accelerated several transitions the world of work was already undergoing, which add layers of uncertainty regarding the skills and competencies that will be in demand after the pandemic is overcome.
The United Nations and its agencies, such as UNESCO-UNEVOC, are well placed to help address these challenges by reducing access barriers to the world of work, ensuring that skills gained are recognized and certified, and offering skills development opportunities for out-of-school youth and those not in employment, education or training (NEET). During this Decade of Action for the 2030 Agenda, the full engagement of young people in global processes is vital to generate positive change and innovation.
What role do 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).
Empowerment isn’t a buzzword but a reality at YUVA
Through empowerment programmes that build leadership, teamwork and confidence, you’re not only making a brighter future possible, but you’re also creating a positive ripple effect on kids’ communities. Imagine how hard it would be to motivate yourself to make a change if you were faced with seemingly impossible circumstances. In many communities where our sponsored children live, it’s easy to see why kids might succumb to hopelessness, feeling like their choices can’t make a difference.
To become set on a course out of poverty, kids first have to believe that escaping it is possible and that they have power over their future. With your help, we’re overcoming disillusionment to help kids become empowered citizens with practical life skills — skills that are put into action to tackle poverty for themselves and their communities.
Here are some of the ways YUVA works to empower kids:
- Using art, music, sports, community service and peer education, we focus on developing important life skills, like problem-solving, decision-making, creative and critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills, coping with emotions and stress, conflict resolution, and appreciating diversity. The result: positive efforts that ripple out and impact others’ lives.
- We help build leadership skills and provide kids with hands-on opportunities to show off what they’ve learned: spearheading neighbourhood cleanup initiatives, developing community literacy programmes, creating microenterprises and helping change views on gender equality.
- We use a proven curriculum from various partners to provide social and financial education — self-awareness, personal responsibility, social skills, money management and the basics of business.
- We teach kids how to create solutions for community problems, such as anti-bullying campaigns and improvements to public spaces like parks or schools.
- We help build the belief that kids can change their personal situations and their communities for the better and that they have the skills to do so.
Did You Know?
- Recent estimates suggest that 600 million jobs would have to be created over the next 15 years to meet youth employment needs.
- The proportion of young people not in employment, education or training
(the youth NEET rate) has remained stubbornly high over the past 15 years and now stands at 30 per cent for young women and 13 per cent for young men worldwide.
- Enterprises and organisations brought skills development almost to a standstill due to lockdown measures introduced during the pandemic. The training was interrupted for 86 per cent of apprentices and 83 per cent of interns/trainees. Nearly half of the enterprises have stopped paying stipends or wages to apprentices, interns and trainees.
- The youth population will grow by more than 78 million between 2021 and 2030. Low-income countries will account for nearly half of that increase. Education and training systems need to respond to this challenge.