The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, the Permanent Mission of Portugal to the UN, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Youth, UNESCO and the ILO co-organized an event on Youth Skills for Sustainability and Innovation to celebrate World Youth Skills Day on 15 July 2018.
The event brought together the voices of Member States, the UN system, private sector, civil society, academia and youth organizations to discuss how to leverage innovation and emerging technologies, such as AI, big data and machine learning to boost youth employment and what are the implications in skills needs and skills development systems. The event also explored how the issues of exponential technological change and skills development are interrelated and what actions need to be taken to empower the youth to become drivers of a sustainable future.
The digital economy is rapidly transforming the employment landscape across industries, including financial services, health, entertainment, transportation and of course, information and communication technologies (ICT). Millions of jobs requiring advanced digital skills will be created in the coming decade, but many countries are projecting a shortfall of skilled workers to fill these jobs. While young people are often considered “digital natives”, the reality is that the majority do not possess job-relevant digital skills. In particular, jobs requiring coding and other advanced ICT skills are going unfilled.
The growth potential of the digital economy presents an opportunity for tackling the youth employment challenge. In June 2017, the ILO and the ITU launched a campaign to bridge the current skills gap. The goal is to equip five million young people with digital skills – both basic and advanced – by 2030. This will be achieved by mainstreaming digital skills into school curricula, establishing comprehensive on-the-job training systems and mobilizing job creators in the public and private sector to employ young people in digital-centric jobs. There will also be a strong focus on fostering youth-led digital entrepreneurship.
For more information, download the Thematic Plan for Digital Skills For Decent Jobs For Youth Campaign