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, health, unemployment, poverty, gender inequality, conflict, and migration.
Globally, one in five young people are NEET: Not in Employment, Education or Training. Three out of four of young NEETs are women and sadly enough the World Youth Skills Day 2020 is taking place in a challenging context as the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures have led to the worldwide closure of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, threatening the continuity of skills development.
The World Youth Skills Day is celebrated every year on the 15th of July, to highlight at a global level, the importance of youth skills development and to raise awareness on the significance of exploring all the extraordinary skills possessed by young people. The goal is to achieve better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth, as a means of addressing the challenges of unemployment and under employment.
It is estimated that nearly 70% of the world’s learners are affected by school closures across education levels currently. Respondents to a survey of TVET institutions, jointly collected by UNESCO, ILO, and the World Bank, reported that distance training has become the most common way of imparting skills, with considerable difficulties regarding, among others, curricula adaptation, trainee and trainer preparedness, connectivity, or assessment and certification processes.
Prior to the current crisis, young people aged 15-24 were three times more likely than adults to be unemployed and often faced a prolonged school-to-work transition period. In post-COVID-19 societies, as young people are called upon to contribute to the recovery effort, they will need to be equipped with the skills to successfully manage evolving challenges and the resilience to adapt to future disruptions.
The theme for the World Youth Skills Day 2020 is “Skills for a Resilient Youth”, which devotes considerable attention to technical and vocational skills development, specifically regarding access to affordable quality TVET, the acquisition of technical and vocational skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, and the elimination of gender disparity and ensuring access for the vulnerable.
Rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies in today’s world, for developed and developing countries alike. That is why education and training are key determinants of success in the labour market. But unfortunately, existing systems are failing to address the learning needs of many young people. Skills and jobs for youth feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and SDG target 4.4 calls for a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), work towards empowering and inspiring youth from all around the globe to become active and proactive in their communities of their countries. We also help equip young people with opportunities through volunteerism to work for the elevation of youth and the development of youth leaders who are willing to donate their precious time and valuable energy not only to support and achieve their goals but also bring significant impact for the benefits of their community and humanity.We, WAY and all stakeholders, need to equip youth with the skills required to access the world of work, including skills for self-employment.
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.
We recognise and applaud young people that continue to showcase their adaptability at this challenging time and we encourage them to continue remaining innovative and resilient.