The 15th July marks World Youth Skills Day. This annual event, formulated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014, aims to raise awareness of the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. This year, the focus is on recognising the resilience and creativity of youth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ramifications of the global pandemic are far reaching, and youth employment is one of the casualties from the crisis. The negative impact on the early labour market for youth is likely to be felt for years to come, unless education & training institutions, employers and governments act to help resolve the issue and aid recovery post COVID-19.
Here are some statistics shared by the United Nations, which demonstrate the struggles of youth employment:
- Young people aged 15-24 have been even more severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis than adults. Globally, youth employment fell by 8.7% in 2020, compared with 3.7% for adults.
- Enterprises and organisations brought skills development almost to a standstill due to lockdown measures introduced during the pandemic. Training was interrupted for 86% of apprentices and 83% of interns/trainees.
- UNESCO estimates that schools were either fully or partially closed for more than 30 weeks between March 2020 and May 2021 in half the countries of the world.
Education and training
It is hugely important to recognise the impact education and training can have on supporting youth employment. Those given the right opportunities to learn and develop, irrespective of their background, will not only help contribute to the success of a company but learn transferable skills which will also support the economy as a whole in the long run. Whether young employees can be immersed, for example, in coding, construction or a trade, the mix of education and experience will help them thrive. World Youth Skills Day hopes to encourage the benefits of Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) to help young people find new roles and develop sought after and highly employable skills.
In response to youth unemployment, the UK government has formed the Kickstart scheme to help make young employees more employable in the future. It hopes to support young people find a job role, and successfully develop transferable skills. Companies of any size and from any industry can offer a kickstart role to a young person and receive government funding to support them. This will not only help young people progress but also aid economic recovery after the pandemic.
Mental health concerns
World Youth Skills Day 2021 also provides a good opportunity to recognise the difficulties young people have faced as a result of COVID-19. Disruptions to their education and the beginning of their working life has negatively impacted them. Some may have even delayed the start of their careers and chosen to continue to live with their parents over the course of the pandemic, lost jobs or received significantly reduced pay. There are grave concerns that young people will be suffering with poor mental health as a result, which will affect their ability to find future employment.
According to a report by the Resolution Foundation, at the end of May, 18-24-year-olds were two and a half times more likely to be out of work or on furlough than any other age group, despite the reopening of the hospitality sector and high streets. And almost one in three young people who were employed before the pandemic, but are now unemployed, furloughed or on reduced pay, say they have poor mental health.
Organisations who can support young employees will in return gain employees who can bring a new energy to the workplace, as well as fresh perspectives. Getting more young people into employment and giving them the opportunity to build and develop new skills will also help protect their mental health, and give them more confidence for the future.
All organisations can play their part too and ensure young employees are offered training opportunities and support to excel in their roles. This can be through on the job learning, coaching & mentoring, apprenticeship opportunities and eLearning.
Here at iHASCO we have a range of online courses that can help support your young employees in the workplace. These include mental health and wellbeing courses, as well as soft skills. Check out our Young employee Training Bundle which includes a range of online courses to help support their growth and development.