July 06, 2018

"We need to listen to youth needs now to equip them with the skills they need in the future"

Our Global Youth Ambassadors are helping to make sure young people are ready for the jobs of the future

Photo credit: Maisha Reza

Global Youth Ambassadors tell how they're helping to identify what must be done to ensure young people are ready for the jobs of tomorrow.

The Youth and Skills Innovation Initiative was launched at the United Nations General Assembly last year by the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education). 

As part of this, 14 of our Global Youth Ambassadors - a network of 900 youth activists in over 80 countries - were selected to be on the initiative’s Youth Council. 

They have all been busy working towards this over the past six months to help identify how to enhance the skills of young people for the jobs of tomorrow - and inspire collective action to help our next generation of innovators. 

A global youth survey has also been launched by GBC-Education to inform a major report on youth skills that will be released in September around the United Nations general Assembly. Read more about it and take the survey (if you're aged 15 to 29).

Here are some exciting updates from our Global Youth Ambassadors and why this work is so important.

Kirthi Jayakumar (India)

Kirthi is helping to make education accessible in India

Photo credit: Kirthi Jayakumar

I have helped to map organisations working in the space of education in India, particularly around making education accessible. In addition, I also offered feedback on the survey when it was built and promoted the global youth survey. 

Education is an important element in making one's life liveable, beyond just mere existence. It facilitates room for not only economic and social advancement but also personal growth and develops routes towards sustainable futures. 

This work is incredibly important because we are now in the anthropocene age - the age in which human action has had significant impacts on the world and environment - and the world is at its youngest, with a massive youth population. 

If we want to build sustainable futures, we have got to not only listen to the youth's needs now but also equip them to achieve all the skills they need to address the future. 

Being on the Youth Council is a fulfilling and rewarding experience, because it lets me work like a bridge between the world I represent and the world I am passionate about, to co-create a future for all of us.

Nina Mbah (Nigeria)

Nina is an advocate for youth in Nigeria

Photo credit: Nina Mbah

Since I became a Youth Council member, I have been involved in pulling youth organisations from diverse networks across Nigeria and Africa to join GBC-Education's Youth Commission. 

This commission will create a global movement and advocate for youths to be empowered with the skills necessary to thrive in the modern and future world of work. I have shared my personal stories, observations and experiences we as young people go through to survive in the world of work and this has contributed in shaping the questions for the global youth survey.   

I did this to add my voice to the youth voices across the world sharing their challenges in gaining employment or fitting into the changing world of work. Our voices as young people are paramount in helping world leaders bring solutions to this rising global problem. 

This survey is very important because it is firsthand proof of the ongoing challenges faced by youth in securing jobs and surviving in the modern world of work. Every youth voice counts in seeking solutions from world leaders on the current unemployment crisis.  

It’s scary when I look at what the future world of work holds for youths in the developing world - but working with GBC-Education's Youth Council on the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative gives me an insight that brings hope.

Grace Waguthi Jayo (Kenya)

Grace is a member of the Youth Council and is helping children find their hidden competencies

Photo credit: Grace Waguthii

We are setting up a global ecosystem - Everizone - an impactful, innovative, inspiring and local-to-global model for every individual to understand their hidden competencies.

It will match skills with industry needs and guide youth on how to utilixe each of their personal strengths to implement social-economic activities which are sustainable and income-generating. 

The data presented to stakeholders is useful in evaluating learning outcomes, nurturing personalities, predicting the future of work, steering exchange programmes and achieving sustainable development. 

As we prove the concept in East Africa at Kilifi with the County Government – Department of Education and ICT, we are involving multiple stakeholders including Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Technical Vocation Education & Training Authority, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry, UNESCO, local communities and network organisations. 

I am happy to be in the Youth Council, so as to present the right model that will enhance youth skills and innovation, as well as to inspire collective action among the business community, civil society, government leaders and youth. 

Saket Mani (India)

Saket is encouraging youth to take action

Photo credit: Saket Mani

The Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative consists of a diverse set of experts from the business, government, NGO, academic, development and youth communities. 

It is co-chaired by Rosalind Hudnell, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Intel and President of the Intel Foundation, and Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education. 

Among other confirmed luminaries are Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank, and Yemi Babington-Ashaye, Head of Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum.

The initiative includes senior leaders connected with a network of young people around the world concerned with the challenge of equipping marginalised young people for jobs in the future.

As members of the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative Youth Council, we play a vital role in supporting the initiative’s outcomes by helping to shape the research agenda, providing feedback to the commission, supporting the recommendations and encouraging business, governments, and youth to take action.

Maisha Reza (Singapore)

Maisha is working to bridge the gap between education and the skills needed for the workplace

Photo credit: Maisha Reza

Young people make up a significant proportion of our global population and we will not just be inheriting the future but we are the shapers of our current world. 

Youth voices are important in formulating and implementing appropriate policies that will enable young people to enter the workforce with the relevant skills and knowledge. 

It is essential to understand the gap between education received by our young people and the ability to implement and utilise these skills in the workplace. Our youth invest tremendously in obtaining a degree in hope for returns from their future jobs. 

Unfortunately, this hope does not come into fruition. In order to develop sound and effective policies, to solve the issue, we need to frame the problem accurately and that requires in-depth research. 

It is an absolute honour for me to be a part of the the Youth Advisory Council of the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative, where I have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in being the ground force in gathering information at the problem-studying phase. 

Council members have been representatives of our regions and communicating with Deloitte to share the research, experience and information that we have gathered. We tap into our diverse networks and social media to ensure the global youth survey is accessible to as many people as possible. 

Encouraging young people to take ownership of the future and providing as much information will generate a deeper understanding on the state of youth skill development and youth employment across the globe.

It is an absolute privilege to be a part of the Youth Advisory Council and contribute to building a strong foundation of understanding of the state of youth skills and employment around the globe. 

I believe this extensive and far-reaching research will facilitate the development of sound policies that will help to close the gap between education and decent employment.

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