This year’s World Youth Skills Day presented an opportunity to examine what impact the pandemic will have on young people’s work skills and employment opportunities, both now and into the future
World Youth Skills Day is a United Nations (UN) designated event dedicated to the importance of equipping young people around the world with essential skills for employment, work and entrepreneurship.
Established in 2014, the day seeks to create a global dialogue between, technical and vocational education and training institutions, organisations, policy makers and development partners.
This year’s World Youth Skills day 2021 took place in a different context to previous years, being held online, due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the event still represented a celebration of resilience and creativity of youth living through the crisis. It also specifically focussed on the situation young people face in regards to skill development and work as a result of the pandemic, and how they have adapted to living through the crisis.
Young people aged between 15-24 may not be at a high risk of developing severe forms of COVID-19, however it is these young people that have experienced the significant socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. The closure of schools and workplaces has led to significant training and work disruptions. Not only has the pandemic majorly interrupted young people’s skill development, education and training opportunities, it has significantly intercepted young people’s life-cycle transitions such as graduation, entering the workforce and market insertion.
The silver-lining of this year’s World Youth Skills Day was that the crisis that we are all collectively surviving has provided us all with the unique opportunity for transformational change and course correction. This was aptly reflected by the 2021 theme: Reimaging of Youth Skills Post Pandemic.
1.8 billion voices demanding to be heard
The tone of this year’s World Youth Skills Day was set by an address from the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr Volkan Bozkr.
Highlighting that there is roughly 1.8 billion young people around the world, that is he said “1.8 billion voices demanding to be heard”, young people who are “searching for jobs, livelihoods, a chance to contribute, innovate and to try.”
Mr Bozkr said that we do a disservice to youth when we deny young people the skills they need to prosper.
“Theirs is a generation of incredible potential and unprevailed reach, all they ask for is the tools to get there.”
“By empowering youth, we quite literally invest in a future for ourselves and a future for our planet. We open the gates to new industries, economy growth and inclusive, transformative pathways for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future.”
As part of his address, Mr Bozkr called for young people to continue to push for transformations in energy and digital support, and a green recovery from COVID-19. Specifically to demand to be given the opportunities and resources to learn new skills, and have access to the latest technologies and innovations, needed to contribute to the future of themselves and their societies.
“This means embracing network and partnership oriented thinking, encouraging resilience and adaptiveness and forging ahead with that entrepreneurial mindset.”
Read more about World Youth Skills Day 2021:
Visit the UN’s World Youth Skills Day webpage to learn more about the event
Author: Ellee Richardson, Marketing & Communications Intern, Sir David Martin Foundation