New Skills, New Opportunities

“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” /Diogenes/

In 2014, 15th July was designated by the United Nations as World Youth Skills Day to emphasize the importance and necessity of providing young people with useful skills that will prepare them for the future employment. Since the starting point, numerous events have been organized on that day annually to bring youth, TVET (technical and vocational education and training) institutions and employers together. This year, due to the global pandemic, the celebrations will be mainly  organized virtually, among them a global campaign with the hashtags  #TVETYouth #WYSD2021. You can find all the details on the UNESCO-UNEVOC website.

Statistics? Not so optimistic…

When studying the information provided in Global Employment Trends for Youth 2020 published by International Labour Organisation you come across the following numbers: 

 Significantly, young people are three times as likely as adults (25 years and older) to be unemployed.

Globally, one-fifth of young people currently have NEET status, which means they are neither gaining experience in the labour market, nor receiving an income from work, nor enhancing their education and skills.

Globally, young women are twice as likely as young men to have NEET status.

You can notice immediately the situation is serious and requires urgent remedial measures. As adults we need to use all the possible resources to encourage young people and particularly, in the light of the above quotation, young women,  to continue education and develop skills. 

Which skills for the future?

WorldSkills  can definitely help find an answer to the above-mentioned question by offering descriptions of useful skills as well as providing young people with various opportunities in the form of creative projects and competitions. It is worth noticing WorldSkills ‘connects two thirds of the world’s population’ and has 85 Members – different countries around the globe whose job is to inspire youth and encourage their skills development by 2030. Similarly, WorldSkills Europe supports vocational education and training across Europe as well as promotes skills by, for example, organising events and skills competitions like the biennial EuroSkills event. The 7th EuroSkills event will take place in September 2021 in Graz, Austria. 

The European Union constantly monitors the economic and labour market in connection with the required skills and reacts to the changing trends by publishing the data and organising numerous initiatives to respond to the needs, among others The New Skills Agenda for Europe and Skills Panorama where you can easily search for the future skills demand and job prospects by Sector, Occupation, Country or Policy Themes. It is definitely worth visiting if you are a young person still considering your future career path.

Young white female health professional in uniform with laptop, Adrian Wressell, Wellcome Collection, CC-BY.
According to Skills Panorama, the greatest future employment growth over the period of 2020-2030 is estimated for the Health and social care sector in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Sweeden and the Netherlands.

Developing skills with Europeana

Members of the Europeana DSI-4 User Group  have created numerous Learning Scenarios aimed at developing skills in the classroom. Among them there are those that have been invented to enhance digital literacy, STEM skills, or Entrepreneurship skills. Moreover, there are also scenarios prepared by teachers working in vocational schools and implemented with students developing particular job skills, for instance, LIFT the LID on Mental HealthWe Wear Culture! or  3D Printing – Modern Available Technology of the Future. Do young people use the skills they learn with Europeana educators? Look at the answer provided by Marcin Jabłoński in his learning scenario entitled ‘3D Printers at War Against COVID-19.’ 

I have no doubts that our tomorrow’s wellbeing depends on how we educate today’s youth since, as Tom Mann put it, ‘The future of the world belongs to the youth of the world, and it is from the youth and not from the old that the fire of life will warm and enlighten the world.’ And how do you feel about it?

Interested in Europeana? You can also read:

By Katarzyna Siwczak, Europeana Education Ambassador

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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