Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals Point Four calls for a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills by 2030.

Today, there are one point two billion young people aged 15 to 24years, who account for sixteen percent of the global population.

The active engagement of youths in sustainable development effort is central to achieving sustainable, inclusive and stable societies by the target date.

However, young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labour market inequalities and more insecure school –to-work transitions.

In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed under paid and to undertake part time jobs or work under temporary contracts.

In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 15th July as World Youth Skills Day.

The goal is to achieve better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth as a means of addressing the challenges of unemployment and under employment.

The importance of developing skilled youth is at the core of this year’s message for World Youth Skills Day.

The aim is to recognize the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship while highlighting the crucial role of skilled youth in addressing current and future global challenges.

Currently, one in six young people are out of work due to Covid-19 as they are called upon to contribute to the recovery effort. They will need to be equipped with the skills to successful manage evolving challenges and the resilience to adapt to future  disruptions .

The World Youth Skills Day 2020 will take stock of the impact of the Covid-19 crises on skills development and explore strategies in response to the unfolding economic crisis.

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures have led to the worldwide closure of technical and vocational education and training, TVET, institutions, threatening the continuity of skills development.

Report shows that nearly seventy percent of the world’s learners are affected by school closures across education levels currently.

This entails preparing young people with the capacities to respond to rapid changes in employment and entrepreneurship in the sectors as they are hardest hit by the crisis.

In the longer term, this means adapting skills development systems to changes in the world economy that the pandemic and recession will bring.  

To engage the youth during this pandemic, government must diversify and invest in viable sectors for increased youth employment in the informal sector like agriculture, ICT and entertainment.

Government should as a matter of urgency review and update the national youth employability plan to provide incentives and funds for business startups by youths.

Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports needs to involve youths in the decision making process for the formulation and execution of youth –friendly programmes. 

Morenike Tony-Esan


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