Empowering Youths for the Future - Jul '17

By Ariana Azad ATA
July 15th is World Youth Skills Day and Ariana Azad ATA discusses the significance of investments in youth skills development #SkillForAll

“We are entering the era of unparalleled talent scarcity, which, if left unaddressed, will put a brake on economic growth around the world, and will fundamentally change the way we approach workforce challenges” (Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec, World Economic Forum Global Talent Risk Report, 2011). Today’s generation is the largest ever to face a myriad of challenges accessing education, developing skills and finding decent job opportunities. The Prince’s Trust estimated in 2010 that youth-associated crime, due to unemployment, costs the UK economy £23 million per week and that the lifetime cost of educational underachievement for today’s 17-24 year olds will be £22 billion (Manpower Group, 2012). Most pertinently, figures like these indicate that the lack of economic and social prospects will perpetuate so-called ‘lost generations’.

In 2014, motivated by the estimated 74.5 million unemployed youths worldwide (primarily in developing countries), the United Nations highlighted the significance of investments in youth skills-development with the adoption of resolution 69/145. This declared the 15th of July as World Youth Skills Day. The UN called upon its members to make a strong commitment to reduce youth unemployment and give their youth the opportunities to realise their full potential by developing holistic national policies promoting sustainable youth investments. By celebrating World Youth Skills Day, we can support and encourage young people around the world to come together to hold both the UN and its member states accountable for their lack of such policies. We can think of initiatives today that could provide young people with the opportunities to help themselves, both practically and academically, so they can contribute to the socio-economic development of their communities. We can support the policies addressing the costs of exclusion and marginalisation that can have dire consequences, such as conflict, instability and youth exploitation.

On this significant day, we, with a passion for imparting our knowledge and cultivating a young person’s desire to thrive, can show our support by remembering the fundamental human right of enjoying access to education, inclusively and with equality. Countries are reminded today to adopt youth policies, reduce unemployment and promote socio-economic sustainability by providing skills training and education for all. The UN regards a country without youth policy as a country without policy, a view with which I whole-heartedly agree. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” On this day, the world remembers that today’s youth is tomorrow’s future.


Ariana Azad ATA

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