Young people are the future of any economy, not only as consumers and clients but also as workers. PwC and Deloitte predict that by 2020, Millennials will comprise 50% of the global workforce, and 75% by 2025.
At the same time, however, young people are finding that getting a job is a feat to overcome on its own. In 2014, 73.3 million young people around the world made up nearly 37% of the global unemployed. Youth continue to strongly over-represent the unemployed, and this is alarming to know.
One of the best ways to tackle youth unemployment, and to support economic and social growth, is through education. Not just education within the classroom, and at a young age, but long-term learning that focuses on skills development and growth.
The true purpose of education: making minds, not careers
Despite the shortcomings of today’s education systems, it is still the greatest single investment to ensuring a clear way out of poverty. Simply put, young people who have better education backgrounds have better chances of being employed and getting higher pay.
One of the best ways to tackle youth unemployment, and to support economic and social growth, is through education
This year, as we commemorate World Youth Skills Day, celebrated on July 15, let us recognize the role that education has in developing the skills of young people to secure safe and decent work.
The evolution of education must keep pace with the changing nature of work and the emerging skill sets that are required for successful employment. Education must be viewed not simply as a finite time in a person’s life but a continuum that is nurtured and cultivated over a lifetime.
Such a paradigm shift in how we view education enables young people to apply for a broad range of jobs that yield greater pay and chances for upward mobility, gain promotions, change careers, and obtain skills that boost their performance over a lifetime.
Plan International and our work with young people
Plan International, through its youth employment programming across a number of countries in Asia, strives to get young people into decent jobs. Our programming focuses on technical vocational education and training, life skills and work readiness.
Between 2013-2015, nearly 64,000 people (including 44,000 young girls) took part in our youth employment programming across 14 countries in Asia.
One such individual, is Carlo, a 26-year-old boy from the Philippines who lives his life with a disability. He is one of the 2,000 young people who received support from Plan International to start their own businesses. Before launching their companies and receiving small financial assistance, however, Carlo received life skills training on enterprise and business development.
Call to Action
The changing global landscape and Plan International’s own experiences call for new ways of tackling economic and social scourges. Plan International is committed to bringing lasting change to the global youth employment crisis through the programs we implement, the partnerships we develop and the advocacy we undertake.
Young people are the greatest natural resource for sustainable economic and social growth, if given the right opportunities.
This must all start with education – long-term learning that focuses on skills development, learning a technical trade or personal growth – thus providing a way for people to life themselves out of poverty and contribute to the development of their own life, that of their family, community and society as a whole.