Learning to learn on World Youth Skills Day

Around the world, millions of young people are kept out of work by a lack of skills. But improvements to education and training can help them to reach their full potential. We're calling for action on 15 July.

A young women in a carpentry workshop.
© UNICEF/UN0210214/Noorani

Public speaking, copy writing, coding – do you remember how hard it was to learn your most valuable skill? Now imagine that you’re a young person in 2019 and the skills you need to find a job keep changing.

As the global economy evolves, it can be hard to keep up with the myriad talents, abilities and competencies young people need to succeed. Whether it’s something as simple as good communication or something as specific as solar engineering, millions of young people lack access to 21st century skills.

That’s why Generation Unlimited founding members, ILO and UNESCO, created World Youth Skills Day on 15 July to raise awareness of the skills gap keeping young people out of work.

That’s also why Generation Unlimited supports youth skills by bringing together public and private partners – with young people - to drive progress in seven priority areas. Together, we're transforming the formal school experience, building the skills young people need for productive lives and connecting job seekers with employers. We're providing young people outside formal schooling with opportunities for training, skill development and . And we're equipping young people with the skills and support they need to be entrepreneurs.

In Bangladesh, this means training for Rohingya refugees in locally relevant trades. In South Africa, it means job shadowing in science and technology for girls. But whatever the context, part of the focus must be on life-long learning.

The theme of this year’s World Youth Skills Day is ‘learning to learn for life and work’ because, in an ever-evolving world, today’s young people will need to learn new skills throughout their lifetime. Some estimates suggest 85 per cent of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet, meaning the single most important skill a young person can have is knowing how to acquire new skills.

Generation Unlimited is a new partnership that aims to close the skills gap and empower young people everywhere to be the best they can be. You can help by sharing this message on social media and calling for action. Join us on Twitter and Instagram to speak up.

Improve youth skills, and change the world.