The theme of this year's World Youth Skills Day is ‘Transforming Youth Skills for the Future’. Image: Unsplash/S. H. Gue
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- World Youth Skills Day on 15 July highlights the opportunities and challenges that young people face in employment.
- This year's theme is ‘Transforming Youth Skills for the Future’.
- Only a quarter of young people are on track to acquire job-specific skills, according to UNICEF’s Recovering Learning report.
Only around 1 in 4 of the world’s young people are on track to learn the skills they need to get a job - either through education, employment or training.
That’s according to Recovering Learning, a new report from the Education Commission and UNICEF published to coincide with the United Nations’ World Youth Skills Day on 15 July.
Since 2014, the day has been celebrating the importance of skilling young people (aged 15-24) for employment - and providing them with an opportunity to engage with technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, businesses, and policymakers.
As the world teeters on the brink of a global recession, experts are calling for investment in skills and education for young people to equip them for the future and help to drive economic growth.
“We must ensure the right of young people to effective and inclusive education, training, and lifelong learning,” says UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “That requires ramping up youth skills development while investing in Technical Vocational Education and Training, broadband connectivity, and digital skills.”
Meanwhile, UNICEF Director of Education Robert Jenkins highlights the wider importance of closing the skills gap: “An inspired, skilled generation of children and young people is critical for prosperity, progression, and the success of societies and economies,” he says.
“Investment in cost-effective, proven solutions to fast-track learning and skills development for today’s generation and future generations is urgently needed to address this crisis.”
Here are 15 key facts about the youth skills gap in 2022 and how to close it:
1. 78 million
That’s how many more young people there will be by 2030, according to the UN. Nearly half of that number will be in low-income countries and will need education and training.
The number of youth without secondary education-level skills, according to the World Skills Clock, a partnership between UNICEF, the Education Commission, World Data Lab, and Generation Unlimited, which counts up in real-time.
3. -39 million
How much youth employment fell by in 2020, while 24 million young people are still at risk of not returning to school, according to Guterres. Young people lost jobs faster than other age groups in the first few months of the pandemic, because they were over-represented in the worst-hit sectors, or had temporary or fixed-term contracts.
4. $2.54 trillion
The potential global GDP gain from investment in collaborative problem-solving skills, according to the World Economic Forum’s recent Catalysing Education 4.0 insight report.
The proportion of young women worldwide not in employment, education, or training
(NEETs) - while for young men it’s 13%.
6. $17 trillion
The projected global loss in lifetime incomes due to COVID-19 school closures of more than six months, on average.
The percentage of apprenticeships that stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic.
8. 600 million
The number of jobs that need to be created over the next 15 years to meet youth employment needs.
The proportion of young people in at least 1 in 3 low-income countries with available data, who are off-track for secondary-level, digital, and job-specific skills attainment, the Recovering Learning report notes.
10. 1 in 2
The number of 18 to 24-year-olds who believe there will be no traditional employment in the future, instead they will “promote their own personal brands and sell skills on a short-term basis to those who need them”, according to a PwC survey.
11. $1.5 billion vs $16 billion
The total cumulative volume of investments related to UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: Quality Education over the past decade, compared to global healthcare.
The proportion of the world’s youth without digital skills.
13. $404 billion
The capital ‘edtech’ is projected to attract globally by 2025, due to increased recognition of the importance of technology-enabled and remote learning during the pandemic.
14. 69 million
The number of additional teachers that will need to be recruited in the coming years to reach SDG4 by 2030. Currently, there are 85 million teachers worldwide.
15. 19 September
When the UN holds its Transforming Education Summit in New York, during the 77th UN General Assembly. The Summit is aiming to mobilize political ambition, action, solutions and solidarity to transform education: to take stock of efforts to recover pandemic-related learning losses; to reimagine education systems for the world of today and tomorrow, and to revitalize national and global efforts to achieve SDG4.
UNICEF and the Education Commission are urging governments to ensure every child has a quality education and break down the barriers that put them at risk of dropping out; assess children’s learning levels and provide tailored catch-up classes to bring them up to speed; prioritize foundational skills to build a strong base for lifelong learning, and support psychosocial health and wellbeing by providing holistic support.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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