World Youth Skills Day: investing in skills for better opportunities in life
- BIK Team
World Youth Skills Day, celebrated on 15 July, only became an official international day in 2015. On its third celebration, the day underlines the importance of skills and strives to raise awareness among young people and society at large of the impact of skills on employability, personal growth and opportunities.
Youth unemployment, which has reached high rates internationally, has become one of the landmarks of our century, being recognised as a worldwide challenge for governments, education systems and population alike. According to a study carried out by the International Labour Organization (ILO), 73.4 million young people were estimated to be unemployed in 2015. This figure is expected to increase in most regions by 2017.
For Europe, the same study reports that the youth unemployment situation in the EU countries, the region most drastically impacted during the crisis period, started to ease as of 2012, with youth unemployment projected at 15.1 per cent in 2020. Unquestionably, the actions at European level to tackle this trend have seen an impetus in recent years, which culminated with the adoption of a new and comprehensive Skills Agenda for Europe in June 2016.
The new Skills Agenda for Europe calls on Member States and stakeholders to improve the quality of skills and their relevance for the labour market in an effort to create an environment that supports young people to find a job or apprenticeship after graduation. More concretely, the European Commission proposes 10 actions to be taken forward in 2016-2018, among which are a Skills Guarantee "to help low-skilled adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and progress towards an upper secondary qualification1".
World Youth Skills Day reminds us that we live in an era where skills are opening doors to the labour market, to one's personal growth and development, and to better opportunities in life. In the same line of thinking, youth need to be aware that the rapid societal changes and technological developments will require new skills throughout their lifetime. As such, keeping an open mind towards lifelong learning, as well as acquiring a broad set of skills adapted to the labour market demands and growing awareness of the technological innovations, are fundamental to today's reality and can help them be successful in their search for employment. Moreover, digital skills and literacy are becoming a prerequisite in the new digital society.
The Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) celebrate World Youth Skills Day by raising awareness of the need to empower children and young people to develop digital skills and media literacy. To this end, SICs organise national campaigns and create resources aimed at supporting children and young people in the process of developing transversal skills, such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration and more, to help them navigate the internet safely and responsibly.
- BIK team
The UN-designated World Youth Skills Day seeks to create greater awareness of, and discussion on, the importance of technical and vocational education and training, and the development of other skills relevant to both local and global economies. It is hoped that it will contribute to a reduction in unemployment and underemployment among youth across the globe. It will also highlight youth skills development to draw attention to the critical need for marketable skills.