Due to the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, measures to combat it has led to worldwide closure of both technical and vocational institutions, the continuity of skills development amongst youths has been threatened.
It is estimated that nearly 70% of the world’s learners who are made up of youths are affected by school closures across all educational levels. Respondents to a recent survey carried out on training (TVET) institutions, jointly collected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Bank, reported that distance training is now becoming the trend of imparting skills, bearing in mind, the difficulties regarding, among others, curricula adaptation, trainee and trainer preparedness, connectivity or assessment and certification processes.
Before the Advent of COVID-19, it was estimated that young people within the ages of 15-24 were three times more likely than adults to be unemployed and we’re most likely to face a prolonged school-to-work transition period. In the most post- COVID-19 societies, young people are called upon to contribute to the recovery effort. They will need to be equipped with the necessary skills to successfully manage the evolving challenges.
The next question that comes to mind is, what is the need for the World Youth Skills Day?
One of the most challenging problems facing economies and societies in today’s world especially the developing countries is the rising number in youth unemployment. In 2016, there were 259 million young people classified as Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), this refers to persons who are unemployed, not in school or in any vocational training. A number that rose to an estimated 267 million in 2019 and is estimated to climb up to around 273 million in 2021. In terms of percentage, the trend was also slightly up from 21.7% in 2015 to 22.4% in 2020. This implies that the international target to reduce the NEET number is nearly impossible.
So, designated by the General Assembly in 2014, the World Youth Skills Day was created as an opportunity for young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, public and private sector stakeholders to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship.
Some of the suggested ways youths can be empowered to maximize opportunities include:-
(a) Government, individuals, and Stakeholders should include the youths in the decision-making process. This gives the opportunity to hear their opinions, know their challenges, and see areas to channel attention to.
(b) Parents, individuals, government, and Stakeholders should listen to understand the youths to know their challenging areas and know the right decisions and policies to be implemented.
(c) Training opportunities, skills acquisition centers, etc should be created, equipped, and provided to youths at affordable rates to enhance and improve their skills.
(d) The government and individuals should create job opportunities for youths by sharing their adult power and privileges.
In conclusion, as we mark World Youth Skills Day, it is a day to call on all youths to seize every possible opportunity that comes their way. They shouldn’t relax and wait on the government to come to throw it to their laps, make do with what you have and give it your best.
An adage says A bird at hand is worth more than two in the bush
The government should make opportunities available such as grants, loans to deserving individuals, online training at affordable rates due to the situation globally, and other laudable opportunities.
We trust and hope that 2020 World Youth Skills Day will effect and yield the desired results it stands to achieve.
Brace-up The Young
By Jessica .A. Bamikole