In a bid to avert a crisis and emphasize the importance of skill development for young people, the United Nations General Assembly established the World Youth Skill Day, to be commemorated on the 15th of July, annually.
According to the United Nations, World Youth Skills Day on 15 July highlights the opportunities and challenges that young people face in employment
A quarter of the world’s workforce is made up of young people.
However, 400 million young people are currently missing employment opportunities, while 270 million young people are out of work.
Training is shifting from an activity undertaken before employment, to a lifelong process integrated into work.
Young people make up around one-quarter of the global workforce. Like every generation before them, the current cohort of global youth will be concerned with finding employment. But they face an uncertain and changing landscape.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the global economy. Technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation are transforming the world of work, while political forces such as populism and protectionism present a challenge to globalization and free trade efforts.
Why is World Youth Skills Day important?
In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
Since then, World Youth Skills Day events have provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organizations, policy makers and development partners. Participants have highlighted the ever-increasing significance of skills as the world is embarking on a transition towards a sustainable model of development.
What role do Technical, Vocational Education and Training play?
Education and training are central to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
The vision of the Incheon Declaration: Education 2030 is fully captured by Sustainable Development Goal 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Education 2030 devotes considerable attention to technical and vocational skills development, specifically regarding access to affordable quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET);
- the acquisition of technical and vocational skills for employment,
- decent work and entrepreneurship;
- the elimination of gender disparity and ensuring access for the vulnerable.
In this context, TVET is expected to address the multiple demands of an economic, social and environmental nature by helping youth and adults develop the skills;
- they need for employment,
- decent work and
- promoting equitable,
- inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and
- supporting transitions to green economies and environmental sustainability.
TVET can equip youth with the skills required to access the world of work, including skills for self-employment.
TVET can also improve responsiveness to changing skill-demands by companies and communities, increase productivity and increase wage levels.
TVET can reduce access barriers to the world of work, for example through work-based learning, and ensuring that skills gained are recognised and certified.
TVET can also offer skills development opportunities for low-skilled people who are under- or unemployed, out of school youth and individuals not in education, employment and training (NEETs).
Unemployment is not just a perennial problem; it is also a global problem.
The World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2018 declared that the total number of unemployed persons exceeds 192 million, and majority of them are young peo-ple.
Unemployment is the greatest challenge facing the African continent. This challenge will continue as long as young people continue to rely on white collar jobs.
The youths may not know that there’s a litany of opportunities and alternatives in life.
Skill acqui-sition is not just an altern-ative but is indeed the only solution to the peren-nial problem of unemploy-ment!
With skill acquisition one can be self-employed and self-reliant.
Skill acqui-sition is the best and easy way to create jobs, espec-ially for unemployed youths.
Considering the importance of skill acquisition the UN has declared July 15 as World Youth Skills Day.
The aim of the celebration is to encourage the youths to appreciate and consider skill acquisitions such as;
- fashion designing,
- brick-laying (and many others) as a way of achieving personal success and fulfillment.
The ex-UN Secretary Gen-eral, Ban Ki-moon declar-es “Skills deve-lopment redu-ces poverty and better eq-uips young pe-ople to find decent jobs.
It triggers a pro-cess of empl-oyment and self-esteem that benefits everyone.”
Skill acquisition doesn’t just solve the problem of unemployment it also leads to self-actualization and healthy self-esteem.
Ever before UN declared July 15 as World Skills Day the Bible has always enc-ouraged youths to be;
- fruitful and
For instance, the Lord told Adam, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it…” (Ge-nesis 1:28). Adam was ne-ver employed by any gov-ernment or non-govern-mental firm. He never re-ceived any salary but he survived through his natur-al skills.
Exodus 35:30-33 pres-ents skill and craft as pre-cious gifts from God: “Moses said to the people of Israel, ‘See, the Lord has called Bezalel, the son of Uri and He has filled him with the spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood in every skilled craft.”
Skill acquisi-tion is indeed a special gift from God!
The New Testament pre-sents our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of a car-penter (Matthew 13:55). Jesus himself admitted that he belonged to the working class: “My Father is working still, and I am working” (John 5:17).
He en-couraged his followers to be fruitful: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8). A true disciple of Christ must be fruitful and skillful. And it shall be well with you in Jesus name
In April 2018, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari gave a speech where he described Nigerian youths as “lazy,” sparking a social media revolt from both the young and old citizens of the country.
The statement implied that young people in the country were not actively engaged in political affairs, suggesting that they would rather be jobless than be beneficial to society.
It is evident that in every growing society, the youths have an essential role to play in the growth and development of society, as they are often referred to as the leaders of tomorrow.
In the year 2015, the United Nations estimated that 74.5 million youths worldwide were unemployed, especially in developing countries.
“Surveys are showing low levels of achievement in basic literacy, numeracy, and digital skills among younger generations,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi. “If we really want to turn the 2030 Agenda into reality, our work has to start from the world’s youth.”
In Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in Nigeria had increased to 23.10 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, from 22.70 per cent in the second quarter of 2018.
Unemployment Rate in Nigeria averaged 12.31 per cent from 2006 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 23.10 per cent in the third quarter of 2018 and a record low of 5.10 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010.
An idle man is the Devil’s workshop. A high majority of individuals who engage themselves in crime are unemployed or underemployed and are living in abject poverty.
The link between crime and unemployment rates shows that when people have a legal source of income, they refrain from engaging in criminal activities.
To avoid this, the United Nations Organization (UN) has called on various countries to provide basic training, enlightenment, and encouragement for the youths and how they can be of value to themselves and the society at large.
Through this, young people are expected to develop life skills which can improve their prospects for employment.
However, many youths in Nigeria do not completely believe in skill acquisition. They have established the mindset that once they are over and done with their universities and obtained their various degrees, they graduate and then look for a white-collar job.
But what then happens if one can’t find a white-collar job on time? What next?
That is why the government authorities ought to address and encourage the youth on the advantages of taking up these skills. One can be self-employed! Engaging in businesses where one is the sole proprietor.
We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends” – Mary Mcleod Bethune
In Nigeria today, Various Organizations have been set up to promote skill acquisition. One of such Organizations is the Hands & Knees Vocational Center, Tanke, Ilorin, Kwara State
The celebration and commemoration of World Youth Skills Day in Nigeria helps more youths recognize their potential and inspire others to achieve their potential. On this day, the world unites to appreciate and encourage youths who make tremendous improvements to their communities and to the world.
Furthermore, the World Youth Skills day allows to build confidence in both;
- communication skills and for group collaboration/ interaction as well as working well as part of a team;
- a stronger sense of partnership as respecting diversity allows creativity and imagination to flourish and develop a more tolerant society.
It allows youths to develop a greater sense of;
- self-awareness and appreciation for others as well as the ability to self-manage,
- solve problems and understand the business environment. Youths are now self-aware, knowing now that they have responsibility it helps their time management.
The government and the general republic are encouraged to perform their part to ensure that the future of the Nigerian youths remains bright, equal, safe and rewarding, allowing us to build better futures for all.
Interested In Learning A New Skill For Free?
Program Hold: Between 14th July, 2021 – 16th July, 2021
Venue: Hands & Knees Vocational Center, Tanke, Ilorin, Kwara State
Application Deadline: 11th July, 2021 At 12am
Happy International World Youth Skills Day!