Young people need resilience skills to overcome effects of pandemic

Youth Skills Report 1
Young adults carry out work on computers (Mimi Thian)

Justin van Fleet, Sarah Brown, The Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education), Youth skills

Young people need to develop crucial skills to cope with the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on their education and future work prospects, a major report has warned.

Stress management, critical thinking, problem-solving and tenacity will give them the resilience to deal with the shock of Covid-19 and other disruptions to come, says the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education), an initiative of Theirworld.

The virus has forced more than 1.5 billion children out of school and the World Bank predicts the current generation of students are at risk of losing $10 trillion in earnings. Some jobs will never return and young people will be the most affected.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on young people’s education and employment, underscoring the skills required to adapt and rebound,” said Justin van Fleet, Executive Director of GBC-Education and President of Theirworld. 

Youth Skills Report 2

High school girls taking notes in Suapur, Bangladesh (Scott Wallace / World Bank)

“Through resilience, young people will not just bounce back, they will bounce forward in the new economy.”

The report – Resilience: A New Skill for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, released on Youth Skills Day – says some of the students forced out of school could lose more than a full year of learning. 

It provides examples and recommendations for how schools, employers and local leaders can help to build a resilient generation of young people with the skills to adapt to change – and contribute to their societies.

Two of Theirworld’s network of Global Youth Ambassadors have spoken about the need for resilience in dealing with the health crisis. Shomy Hasan Chowdhury and Rijve Arefin are also co-founders of the organisation Awareness 360, which launched a Covid-19 relief fund for sex workers in Bangladesh .

As they were about to distribute relief bags of food and soap, Rijve contracted the virus and needed emergency medical attention.

Youth Skills Report 4

A student does ark welding in Afghanistan (Sofie Tesson / World Bank)

Shomy said: “Our entire team was shaken – mentally in fear of losing a friend and work-wise we felt weaker. But we worked harder … and it was resilience that got us through.”

Rijve said: “I think youth are the driving force of a country. Governments, local officials and the business sector need to equip them with the skills of resilience, creating a pathway out of adversity.”

Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of GBC-Education Education and Chair of Theirworld, said: “The shock of the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the need to bring resilience to the forefront of the youth skills agenda.

“Today’s graduates and young people entering the workforce are facing a new landscape which poses both threats and opportunities. Businesses, local authorities and governments must support the young generation with the skills to become engaged citizens and active employees.”

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