World Youth Skills Day

There is no universally accepted definition of youth. However, the United Nations understands youth to include those between 15-24 years for statistical purposes without prejudice to other definitions by member states. Youths like all other age groups have been shaken by the adversity, caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on society.

Youths around the world are facing many challenges, which include unemployment, substance abuse, crime and access to affordable education, amongst other issues. But through it all, majority of the youth of the world have been resilient, innovative, dynamic, and creative. 

The World Youth Skills Day 2021 pays tribute to the resilience and creativity of the youth. It is observed annually on 15 July and focuses on the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship.

World Youth Skills Day endeavours to showcase unique opportunities for dialogue between young people via different events. These events showcase Technical & Vocational Education, Training (TVET) Institutions, firms, employers’ / workers’ organisations, policy makers and development partners. 

The choice of focusing on skills development for youths is based on research findings from employers which highlights the ever-increasing significance of skills, as the world embarks on a transition towards a sustainable model of development.

This year’s World Youth Skills Day will again take place in a challenging context. As people in 2021 are still adjusting to the new normal in the world, and education & training systems are yet to return to pre-pandemic conditions. 

The youth have been more severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis than older adults. Globally statistics show youth employment fell by 8.7 per cent in 2020, compared to 3.7 per cent of adults. A survey of firms showed that across countries and in different sectors, regardless of the size of the firm, remote training became more prevalent during the crisis, (despite difficulties including poor connectivity and low levels of digital skills). 

The increase in remote learning is evident in the number and variety of online classes and interactions that involve both schools and students, as well as people interested in learning new skills or improving their existing ones. 

E-commerce activities also sky-rocketed with a multitude of new businesses or entrepreneurial concerns popping up in several countries, mostly driven by individuals within the youth age bracket.

As the popular adage goes “the youth are the leaders of tomorrow”.

As the world celebrates the resilience and creativity of the youth through the COVID crisis, the celebrations hope to focus attention of youths on the need to participate in the post- COVID 19 recovery strategies, and imagine priorities they need to adopt for the post-COVID19 world.

FirstBank is leading efforts with other like-minded corporate entities the world over, to celebrate the youths, empower them with entrepreneurial, educational, financial tools that will further support them in overcoming the post- COVID 19 era.

FirstBank wishes all youths a very happy World Youth Skills Day!

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