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, policymakers, and development partners.
World Youth Skills Day 2021 will take place in a challenging context, with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the widespread disruption of the TVET sector, especially in those countries which continue to be overwhelmed by the spread of the disease. Youth skills development will face a range of unfamiliar problems emerging from a crisis where training has been disrupted in an unprecedented manner on a virtually universal scale.
Young people aged 15-24 are particularly exposed to the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. School and workplace closures have led to learning and training losses. Major life-cycle transitions have been made difficult if not impossible, including graduation from general education or TVET at secondary or tertiary level, residential autonomy, and labour market insertion.
This year’s celebration events are being held under the theme, World Youth Skills Day: Reimaging Youth Skills Post Pandemic. Some of the activities include a TVET Youth Stories Campaign, a Regional Forum, Youth Skills Photo Competition, and a Virtual Panel Discussion. The events will celebrate the resilience and creativity of youth during the coronavirus pandemic.
TVET has a key role to play in fostering the resilience of young people. It is crucial for all stakeholders to ensure the continuity of skills development and to introduce training programmes to bridge skills gaps. Solutions must be reimagined in a way that considers not only the realities of the present, but also the full range of possibilities for the future.