Written by Paula Robles
Edited by Alexandra Bravo
The world celebrates Youth Skills Day since 2014, when The United Nations General Assembly declared July 15th as the international day for the celebration of Youth (United Nations, 2021.). This celebration has become a day of opportunity for the youth because it opens the possibility of dialogue between young people and the technical and vocational education and training institutions, organizations, employers, firms, policymakers, or entrepreneurship (UNESCO, 2021).
Furthermore, this celebration acknowledges the importance of training young people and providing them with skills that they must possess to find better opportunities for employment or entrepreneurship (International Labour Organization, 2021). Promoting the development of these skills allows them to make informed choices in all aspects of life, like education or work. Furthermore, it gives them access to an ever-changing business environment (World Vision, 2015).
The importance of this lies in the fact that skill development ends the vicious cycle of poor education, low productivity, and lack of work with persistent poverty. It is essential for sustainable development and promotes individuals’ and society’s economic growth (ILO, 2017).
The topic of World Youth Skills Day in 2021 is to celebrate the resilience and creativity of youth during the pandemic (ILO, 2021) and discuss which skills are more needed nowadays and in the future marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Youths are a crucial factor in social change and economic and technological development (Our World, 2015); in fact, a quarter of the world’s workforce is assembled by young people (World Economic Forum, 2020). However, in 2020, at least 22 percent of young people did not have a job and were not studying or participating in any training. Moreover, young unemployment has worsened at an alarming rate due to the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (UNCDF, 2020; United Nations, 2021).
That is why one of the goals of the United Nations General Assembly is to achieve better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth and address the difficulties of unemployment in the present context (UNCDF, 2020).
To achieve this goal and celebrate World Youth Skill Day, several organizations will heal virtual events to discuss these topics organized by the United Nations, together with UNESCO, ILO, and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth (ILO, 2021).
On the other hand, UNESCO has started an initiative called “Tell UNESCO your story.” This initiative allows students to talk about the difficulties of online learning and how they have adapted to changes. It also highlights the essential skills for young people today.
Some organizations also promote skills development by training volunteers to support young people in school. One of these organization is Nesta, which work with volunteers and give an exhaustive list of organizations that support this way of volunteering. One million mentors, for example, is a community-based mentoring system with the objective of transform society by connecting young people and offering opportunities.
International Labour Organization (2017, Jul 16). Skills and Employability. https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/dw4sd/themes/skills/lang–en/index.htm
International Labour Organization (2021, Jun 16). Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic. https://www.ilo.org/employment/Whatwedo/Eventsandmeetings/WCMS_803263/lang–en/index.htm
Our World (2015, July 15). World Youth Skills Day: Becoming the Tools for Change. https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/world-youth-skills-day-becoming-the-tools-for-change
UNCDF (2020, July 15). Why is World Youth Skills Day so Important? https://www.uncdf.org/article/5886/why-is-the-world-youth-skills-day-so-important
UNESCO (2021, Jun 21). World Youth Skills Day 2021. https://www.gcedclearinghouse.org/events/world-youth-skills-day-2021
United Nations. (2020, Jul 17). World Youth Skills Day. https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-youth-skills-day
World Economic Forum (2020, July 16). World Youth Skills Day: What you need to know for 2020. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/world-youth-skills-day-2020-pandemic-employment-training-young-people/
World Vision (2015, Jul 16). Youth at the Crossroads: A Generation with Untapped Potential. https://www.wvi.org/education-and-life-skills/world-youth-skills-day