Background

Why is World Youth Skills Day important?

Rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies in today’s world, for developed and developing countries alike. At least 475 million new jobs need to be created over the next decade to absorb the 73 million youth currently unemployed and the 40 million new annual entrants to the labour market. At the same time, OECD surveys suggest that both employers and youth consider that many graduates are ill-prepared for the world of work. Attaining decent work is a significant challenge. In many countries, the informal sector and traditional rural sector remains a major source of employment. The number of workers in vulnerable employment currently stands at 1.44 billion worldwide. Workers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia account for more than half this number, with three out of four workers in these regions subject to vulnerable employment conditions.

The international community has set an ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It calls for an integrated approach to development which recognises that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions; combating inequality within and among countries; preserving the planet; creating inclusive and sustainable economic growth; achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men; and ensuring full gender equality and fostering social inclusion, are interdependent.

What role does technical and vocational education and training play?

Education and training are central to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. The vision of the Incheon Declaration: Education 2030 is fully captured by Sustainable Development Goal 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Education 2030 devotes considerable attention to technical and vocational skills development, specifically regarding access to affordable quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET); the acquisition of technical and vocational skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship; the elimination of gender disparity and ensuring access for the vulnerable. In this context, TVET is expected to address the multiple demands of an economic, social and environmental nature by helping youth and adults develop the skills they need for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, promoting equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and supporting transitions to green economies and environmental sustainability.

TVET can equip youth with the skills required to access the world of work, including skills for self-employment. TVET can also improve responsiveness to changing skill-demands by companies and communities, increase productivity and increase wage levels. TVET can reduce access barriers to the world of work, for example through work-based learning, and ensuring that skills gained are recognised and certified. TVET can also offer skills development opportunities for low-skilled people who are under- or unemployed, out of school youth and individuals not in education, employment and training (NEETs).