Young people today joined Ministers from Sri Lanka, Denmark and Jordan as well as the President of the General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to mark the 3rd annual World Youth Skills Day under the theme: “Skills for the Future of Work”.
Today, over 71 million young people are unemployed, with around 40 per cent of the world’s active youth population either unemployed or living in poverty despite being employed.
The gathering in New York saw a robust discussion on the best practices and policies to address the skills gap and ensure that young people across the globe have the opportunities and skills to access quality jobs in rapidly digitizing economies.
“Young people are some of the greatest change-makers and innovators we have,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement to mark the day. “We must help young women and men to achieve their potential not only for their own sake, but for all of us, and our communities and societies.”
Joining the high-level event, the newly appointed UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake stated, “With the 2030 Agenda, Member States have committed to substantially increase the number of youth who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.”
“They recognized that without skilled and employable young people, our chances of achieving the Goals are greatly diminished. It is time to take that commitment seriously,” she added.
Also speaking at the event, the President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Peter Thomson, said, “Investing in young people, and realizing the demographic dividend, is one of the most effective, long-term and exponential investments Governments can make to achieve the 2030 Agenda and realize a future that is safe, secure and prosperous for all.”
Representing Sri Lanka, the Permanent Representative H.E. Mr. Amrith Rohan Perera said, “What we need at this hour is a ‘Skills Revolution’ in which young people are rapidly adapting to the fast-changing world of work by acquiring necessary skills.”
“We are being challenged to broaden our global discourse and explore how we can use these transformations to bring about new, quality job opportunities,” said Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder in speaking about the future of work. “We must anticipate emerging demands for new skills which will have an impact on education and training systems that respond effectively to new forms of work and, most importantly, the role work has in our lives.”
Marking the occasion, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO said in a statement, “Access to quality education and skills training has never been so important to ensuring a future of dignity for the world’s young generation—our ultimate renewable resource.”
“This must be our shared commitment on World Youth Skills Day, and we will be mobilizing our networks of technical vocational education and training institutions in more than 150 countries to pass this message.”
With improved education outcomes, relevant skills and competencies, and access to decent jobs, youth can help accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, fostering a prosperous, sustainable and equitable socio-economic environment for all and building peaceful and inclusive societies.
The event at UN headquarters was organized by the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Portugal to the United Nations, the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNESCO, and the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.
For more information on World Youth Skills Day, please visit: www.un.org/en/events/youthskillsday