World Youth Skills Day: 15 July

World Youth Skills Day: 15 July

The theme for World Youth Skills Day 2022 is “Transforming youth skills for the future”. Find out more about this United Nations initiative and what it stands for:

The United Nations(UN) observes various international days and weeks as a powerful advocacy tool. Such occasions help educate the public on issues of concern, mobilize political support and resources to address global problems, as well as celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity.

With the younger population gradually taking more precedence in global policy matters, the UN dedicates days towards matters concerning the youth. They realize the need to address the multiple issues faced by young people – the most important being access to education, health, employment, and gender equality. To ensure just, equitable and progressive opportunities for the youth, the UN has been observing 12 August as International Youth Day. Concerts, workshops, cultural events, and meetings at national and local government levels were held on that day to draw attention to youth issues worldwide.

Employment is the most pressing issue that has always challenged the youth. UN statistics reveal that young people are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. Even youth who are employed almost always become victims to low-quality jobs, wild disparities in the labor market, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions. And the one key reason for most employment-related miseries is skill mismatch. It is the mismatch between skills that workers in an economy can offer and the skills demanded by employers in that economy. Also referred to as Structural Unemployment, it is a worldwide phenomenon and hampers any efforts toward sustainable development.

Focus on skills

Skill, therefore, is key to employment – and skills development is the primary means of enabling young people to make a smooth transition to work. Keeping this in focus, skills for youth feature prominently in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. And to reinforce the idea at all levels, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as theWorld Youth Skills Day in 2014.

World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) intends to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship. It has provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training institutions, business firms, employers, workers’ organizations and policymakers.

Each year, World Youth Skills Day commemorates a unique theme that deals with immediate issues concerning the youth. The theme in 2021was “Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic”.

The theme for 2022: Transforming youth skills for the future

World Youth Skills Day 2022 is celebrating the theme “Transforming youth skills for the future”.This year’s event focuses on concerted efforts towards socio-economic recovery from pandemic, together with interconnected challenges like climate change, conflict, poverty, inequality, technological disruption, and demographic transition among others. The focus will be on how the worldwide crisis has accelerated several transitions that the traditional workplace was already undergoing, and how this rapid change creates uncertainty regarding skills and competencies that will be in demand once the world normalizes.

The UN will hold a hybrid global virtual event on 15 July 2022 from 10.00 AM till 12.30 PM EDT(8 PM to 10 PM IST) for the occasion. Co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Sri Lanka to the United Nations, together with UNESCO, ILO and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the “Transforming youth skills for the future” virtual event will bring together youth, governments, UN agencies, private sector and civil society representatives to analyse the impact of the current crises across the world, and discuss how young people can quickly adapt to the demands of an ever-changing worldby acquiring necessary skillsets.

Technical and vocational education in demand

The UN presents some startling statistics on youth employment:

  • The youth population will grow by more than 78 million between 2021 and 2030, and half of that increase will be from low-income countries.
  • An estimated 600 million jobs must be created over the next 15 years to meet youth employment needs.
  • For the past 15 years, the proportion of young people not in employment, education, or training has remained consistently high worldwide and now stands at 30%for women and 13% for men.
  • During the pandemic-induced lockdown, skills development or training was interrupted for 86% of apprentices and 83% of interns/trainees. Nearly half of the companies did not pay stipends or wages to apprentices/interns/trainees during that period.

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly stress that equipping the youth with future-ready skills is the need of the hour. Education and training systems need to respond to this challenge. Quality technical and vocational education and training must be made accessible and affordable. Such technical and vocational training can equip youth with skills that are in demand at the workplace, as well as prepare them for self-employment.

To explore the UN World Youth Skills Day 2022 virtual event on 15 July, visithttps://unevoc.unesco.org/wysd/

Acknowledgment: The United Nations website

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