Ban Ki-moon
"On this World Youth Skills Day, let us renew our resolve to invest more in empowering young people. When we do, they can better advance the broader mission of the United Nations for lasting peace, sustainable development and human rights for all. Ban Ki-moon" — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labor market inequalities, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions. In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed and under-paid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts.

That is why education and training are key determinants of success in the labor market. But unfortunately, existing systems are failing to address the learning needs of many young people, and surveys of learning outcomes and skills show that a large number of youth have low levels of achievement in basic literacy and numeracy. Skills and jobs for youth feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and SDG target 4.4 calls for a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills.

July 15 is World Youth Skills Day, and the United Nations is observing the day with a special event on the theme of “Skills Development to Improve Youth Employment.” Understanding what works to support young people in today’s and tomorrow’s labor market through training and skills development will be key to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, and will be at the center of this high-level event.

The event will be facilitated by the UN Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, and will feature opening remarks from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The event is co-organized with the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Sri Lanka to the United Nations, UNESCO, and the International Labour Organization (ILO).