In the fall of 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared every July 15 as World Youth Skills Day to scale up action in support of reducing youth unemployment. In 2009, youth unemployment hit a crisis peak at 76.6 million, spurring global concern for the futures of young people.The high number of unemployed youths called for immediate action, and the solution was found in increasing access to education. The response was successful: In 2014, youth unemployment dropped by 3.3 million. But despite the decline in numbers, the youth unemployment rate still remains high, especially in developing countries.
“In 2009, youth unemployment hit a crisis peak at 76.6 million.”
The General Assembly established World Youth Skills Day as a way to convene its members, nonprofits, and world leaders in ensuring a more inclusive labor force for young people by increasing universal access to higher quality education and vocational job training. The designated day also allows young people to voice their opinions on the change they want to see in the world -- and in doing so, hold the UN and its member states accountable for the progress on youth policies.
“In 2014, youth unemployment dropped by 3.3 million.”
In efforts to empower young people and bring policy makers and youth together, PVBLIC Foundation joined forces with AIESEC International, Asian Development Bank, and UN-Habitat to launch the Youth 4 Global Goals (#Youth4GG) campaign in February 2016. Along with the campaign, AIESEC created a survey, called the YouthSpeak Survey, asking millennials specific questions on how they want to see the world change and what actions of change were most important to them.
Over 160,000 young people worldwide completed the survey, and the results reaffirmed the necessity in increasing access to education and skills training. According to young people, the top 3 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in universally pressing issues, the world needs to focus on are:
SDG #4 - Quality Education (48% of Millennials chose this answer)
SDG #1 - No Poverty (33%)
SDG #3 - Good health and well-being (29%)
Decreasing poverty and increasing health and well-being are contingent on quality education -- not just in traditional schooling but also in skills that meet the labour market’s demands. Stable jobs allows for stable lives and better decision making, and only education and vocational training can help young people find jobs in economies of decreasing youth labor. In addition to millennials’ emphasis on quality education, they also underlined the necessity for practical education, or “hands-on” experiences, and the motivations behind finding a job.
According to 160,292 Millennials:
- 80% surveyed believe that “Practical Experience” is the most useful learning method.
- 29% believed that the biggest benefit of studying in college/university is “acquiring the skills necessary for a career.”
- 45% said their number one motive that drives most of their life is family.
Transitioning young people into sustainable jobs requires investments in education and training of the highest possible caliber, providing youth with the skills that the labour market demands and, in turn, allowing them to receive “basic social protection and health services regardless of their gender, income level, or socioeconomic background,” according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Every person has the right to an education, and young people everywhere have spoken up in favor of better education and more access to it. World Youth Skills Day also brings up the important aspect of youth unemployment -- different areas face different challenges, and traditional education is not universal. With rapidly changing dynamics in each economy, demands for specific expertise that cannot be learned in a traditional school setting are becoming more frequent. Today, about 1.8 billion young people comprise the largest youth population the world has ever seen, and the need for answering their demands for universal and higher quality education, including both vocational training and traditional schooling, is more important than ever before.
To download the full YouthSpeak Global Report, www.aiesec.org/youthspeak/