A new partnership between ILO and UNICEF enhances the Generation Unlimited agenda

The objective is to improve the employability of young people and promote a smoother school-to-work transition.

Generation Unlimited
09 October 2020

October 8, 2020 

There is a mismatch between the skills young people need to acquire and what education systems are providing. 47% of employers say the main reason they cannot fill vacancies is that applicants lack the required skills. At the same time, 31% of young people feel their education is not preparing them with the skills they need to get their jobs in the futurei. COVID-19 has further exacerbated the situation, with one in eight young students without any access to education or training, and 1 in 6 working youth surveyed losing jobs since the onset of the pandemic. As many countries are opening up or in the process or reopening their education systems that were shut down due to the Covid19 crisis, there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leapfrog into the future and support young people to fulfil their full potential. 

To take advantage of this opportunity, an an agreement was signed between the ILO and UNICEF that sets a framework for how both organizations will enhance skills development, lifelong learning, employability, entrepreneurship, personal empowerment, and active citizenship. 

In this line, the agreement brings together the UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth (DJY), led by the ILO, and Generation Unlimited (GenU), led by UNICEF, and capitalizes on the multi-stakeholder memberships of both agencies to bring scale and impact to our efforts for and with young people. 

The new agreement represents a commitment to modernizing learning and skills systems. It will be the basis for how we rethink, disrupt, transform, revolutionize, and accelerate the pace of change including a commitment to leveraging technology and innovative approaches that radically improve young people's skills and school to work transitions. 

The Memorandum of Understanding – an action-oriented framework for collaboration between the agencies – was signed today virtually by the ILO's Director-General, Guy Ryder, and Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF. 

“Today’s event is a great example of how we can both be committed to education and skills and how we can disrupt the status quo. It’s a framework for collaboration of skills. It’s a celebration of work that has begun, but so much more that we are dreaming about. I believe that UNICEF and GenU and ILO and Decent Jobs for Youth were just perfect and made to be together”, said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. 

More than 300 people attended the virtual signing including private and public partner as well as young people. The framework also supports the aims of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in particular Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5 and 8, which aim to ensuere inclusive and equitable quality education, gender equality and decent work.

(i Internal estimations based on Manpower group talent shortage surveys and Ureport polls.)