António Guterres was speaking recently as part of commemorations marking World Youth Skills Day held on the theme; -‘Reimagining youth skills post pandemic’.
In his statement, UN SG highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people’s employment and skills acquisition, especially in the technical and vocation education area, and why we must continue to invest in their development and include them in policy and decision making processes.
The full message is reproduced below:
“Today, we celebrate youth resilience, drive and innovation in times of COVID-19. Young people were already facing disproportionate levels of unemployment and under-employment before the pandemic. More than one out of five youth were not in employment, education, or training, the majority of them young women.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, he added, has further aggravated this troubling situation. In many cases, it has forced organisations to pause skills development training. Distance learning posed a particular challenge for Technical Vocational Education and Training, particularly among marginalised youth.
“To recover better, we must address the longstanding disparities and challenges faced by young people. That means ramping up skills development and education, with a particular focus on climate action, sustainable development, gender equality and inclusivity. It is crucial to boost investments in Technical Vocational Education and Training, broadband connectivity and digital skills.”
“Young people drive solutions and must have a seat at the table, including in policy-making processes at the local, national, and global levels.Youth2030, the United Nations system-wide Youth Strategy, lays out the roadmap for the UN and partners to work for and with young people worldwide. I urge everyone to make the most of this framework and together, build an inclusive, fair and sustainable development for all. I wish you a happy and productive World Youth Skills Day.”