“On this World Youth Skills Day, let us renew our resolve to invest more in empowering young people. When we do, they can better advance the broader mission of the United Nations for lasting peace, sustainable development and human rights for all. Ban Ki-moon”
The United Nations, at its General Assembly in November 2014, declared 15th July as World Youth Skills Day. Spearheaded by Sri Lanka, G77 and China – the day was initiated to highlight at a global level, the importance of youth skills development. 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.
Youths today face an increasingly difficult task in finding their place in the world of work. In low and middle-income countries, informal employment has come to dominate young people’s labour market experiences, while in high-income countries; work for young people increasingly means temporary and other non-standard forms of employment. One reason for youth unemployment is structural unemployment, a mismatch between the skills that workers in the economy can offer and the skills demanded of workers by employers.
World Youth Skills day promotes the opportunity for all youths to discover and develop their talents. Through the power of skills, individuals, communities, and countries are propelled towards a more prosperous future. The UN designated day seeks to generate greater awareness of and discussion on the importance of technical, vocational education, and training and the development of other skills relevant to both local and global economies. It is hoped that it will contribute to reducing unemployment and underemployment among the youth across the globe. It will highlight youth skills development to draw attention to the critical need for marketable skills.
“Unemployment is a general problem in Africa and there must be a partnership between governments and the private sector to address it.
(Kelvin Balogun – President of Coca-Cola, Central, East and West Africa)
Youth unemployment is very high in most of the countries of Africa. The OECD defines youth unemployment rate as the number of unemployed 15-24 year-olds expressed as a percentage of the youth labour force. A recent study published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) reveals that Africa, which is the world’s youngest region, continues to be confronted with high levels of unemployment, vulnerable employment and working poverty with little signs of potential recovery in 2017.
According to Kelvin Balogun, President of Coca-Cola, Central, East and West Africa, almost half of the 10 million graduates churned out of the over 668 universities in Africa yearly do not get job. There is of course the issue of skills mismatch, but the governments don’t seem to be doing much to find solutions to this problem. A major consequence of this is the increasing migration of the youth out of Africa and to move permanently abroad to other countries. The ILO study reported that 38 percent of youth in sub-Saharan Africa migrated in 2015 compared to 20 percent for youth global migration of same age group.
“We need to build our human capital to bring about the development of Africa”.
At ACT, our goal is to provide opportunity of education for disadvantaged children, particularly vulnerable fatherless children and orphans, in rural Africa. But we also work with and support a number of youths through education and skills based projects. An example of our skills based approach was the ICT Project in secondary schools in Tanga, Tanzania carried out from 2009-11. ACT set up ICT facilities equipped with computers and other facilities in seven community secondary schools – enabling ICT to be taught at all schools in Tanga as part of the school curriculum. The project trained nearly 150 teachers in Computer ICT skills and benefited more than 14,000 secondary school children in Tanga, furthering IT and technology skills and employment opportunities for youths in Tanzania.
On this World Youth Skills Day, our aim is to renew our resolve to invest more in empowering young people – advancing lasting peace, sustainable development and human rights in Africa.
Use #SkillsForAll and #WYSD on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn to join WorldSkills and the United Nations, to raise awareness on the importance of youth developing skills.
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