According to UNESCO, nearly a billion students around the world were still affected by full or partial school closings as of the end of June — an unfortunate consequence that could have a long-term impact on the future workforce. As we observe World Youth Skills Day on July 15, it’s important to advocate for systemic changes to better nurture the development of young people worldwide.
World Youth Skills Day comes at a time when youth unemployment is unacceptably high. Last year, global employment for those aged 15-24 fell 8.7%, compared with a decline of 3.7% for older adults. Even more concerning is that the percentage of young people not in employment, education or training rose around the world. We urgently need to reverse course.
In many countries, the demographics show a rapidly aging population. If we don’t expand skilling opportunities for youths, tomorrow’s workforce will be ill-prepared for the needs of a rapidly changing global economy. How can we help today’s youths become better prepared? I believe creating more mentoring opportunities — in addition to technical and vocational programs — can help. My colleague Herman Nijns explores these and other ways in which we can accelerate youth skilling in his latest Blue Notes blog.