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 Sri Lanka and Portugal to the United Nations, UNESCO, and the International Labour Organization (ILO).


When: Friday, July 15, 2016 – 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Where: United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 1

Follow the conversation on social media with #YouthSkills and #WYSD.

Please RSVP by clicking on the following link:

The event will also be streamed LIVE on UN Web TV, starting at 10:00 a.m. EDT:


Event Programme

Event Facilitator: Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth



H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly

H.E. Mr. Amrith Rohan Perera, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN

H.E. Mr. Álvaro Mendonça e Moura, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN

Message of the Secretary-General, Presented by Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi

Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director-General, Field Operations and Partnerships, ILO

Mr. Jorge Sequeira, Director, UNESCO Office in Santiago/UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean

Ms. Beth Comstock, Vice Chair, Business Innovations, General Electric

Ms. Annisa Triyanti, Representative, Major Group for Children and Youth



Senator Dr. the Hon. Esther Byer Suckoo, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development – BARBADOS

Mr. Wellington Chibebe, Deputy General-Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

Mr. Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Global Foundation for Management Education and Dean, IE Business School

Mr. Ronald Bruder, Founder and Chair of the Board, Education for Employment (EFE)

Mr. William S. Reese, President and CEO, International Youth Foundation (IYF)

Ms. Kelli Wells, Executive Director, Education, GE Foundation

Ms. Melissa Garcia Velez, Fellow, Immigrant Justice Corp