On the margins of the High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations July 9-18, the International Labor Organization (ILO), in partnership with UNESCO, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the UN Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Portugal, hosted an event on July 16 titled “World Youth Skills Day 2018: Sustainability and Innovation.”
The ILO estimates that in 2017, 70.9 million young people were unemployed, and in 2018, while the rate will remain stable, more young people will enter the work force. Currently, technological innovations are quickly transforming industries and skills demands, potentially creating a talent gap in the future. Therefore, it is imperative for education and skills development systems to equip youth with the right education and skills to face these changes, while supporting a sustainable future and the transition to a green economy. Given this, the event aimed to bring together member states, UN agencies, the private sector and civil society, among others, to discuss how to leverage innovation and emerging technologies to increase youth employment, and the implications for skills needs and development.
President of the UN General Assembly Ambassador Miroslav Lajčák, gave the keynote speech, and other high-level speakers included ILO Director-General Guy Ryder and Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake, as well as the Permanent Representatives to the UN from Sri Lanka and Portugal.
USCIB Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog participated on the all-female interactive panel that followed the keynotes, and she underscored the key role of government education and labor market policies, as well as the contributions that companies and employer organizations can make to support skills acquisition, including digital, among youth.
“Close and regular dialogue between governments, business and civil society – and especially youth – is critical to our shared goal of closing the gap between the training being taught in schools and the skills needed for jobs of the future,” said Rigg Herzog. “While focusing on the technical and STEM skills is fundamental, we must not lose sight of critical soft skills like creativity and critical thinking, which are also keys to successful integration into the workplace. Companies and government education systems would also be wise to ensure effective inclusion of women and girls, given that they are 50% of the global workforce and thus a human resource asset to be valued.”