Youth Skills Day was adopted as a resolution on December 18, 2014 by the United Nations General Assembly and this day is celebrated on July 15th yearly. A part of this resolution was the Incheon Declaration: Education 2030 which was to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
Youth Skills Day was created to raise awareness about the importance of technical vocational education and training (TVET) as well as, the development of other skills relevant to both global and local economies.
This year’s Youth Skills Day will have a more challenging context resulting from the pandemic creating a disruption of TVET. The need for the development of youth skills may have been enhanced as we are emerging from the pandemic. Per COVID, young adults (under 25 years old) were 3 times as likely to be unemployed. Now, 1 in 6 young adults are out of work because of COVID.
Technical vocational education and training plays a key role in fostering resilience in young adults. These skill developments helps to bridge gaps, creating solutions for the present and the future. TVET can help youth with skills that are required to access self-employment, improve responsiveness to changing skill-demands by communities and companies, increase wages, and increase productivity. This can be opportunities for low-skilled people who are unemployed or underemployed, or out of school individuals and youth that are not in education, employment and training.
Youth Skills Day has highlighted more of a need during and after the pandemic. Youth generally work in the service industry, which has not recovered from the pandemic, and some jobs have vanished. At this time, many schools may not provide career counseling and development and this can impact their résumés and career development.
Youth Skills Day is important because we know employment offers many benefits to people diagnosed with mental health conditions, including their improvement in empowerment, self-efficacy, and economic status. We must also be aware how stigma can be a significant barrier to employment for anyone with mental health conditions, and especially youth, and we have to remain optimistic about career prospects. Under or unemployment is also linked to low birthweight, elevated rates of depression and increased alcohol use.
When youth have meaningful employment, it decreases the risk of involvement in criminal activity and the juvenile justice system and increases the chances of that youth graduating from high school.