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World Youth Skills Day

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia

Image by Suvajit Roy from Pixabay


On 15th July is the UN Observance World Youth Skills Day. For 2023 the theme is Skilling teachers, trainers and youth for a transformative future.

This is one of the more recent days of observance, being declared in 2014. This reflects the UN reacting to a changing world where we see new issues coming up. For quite a while now, many post-industrial economies have been witnessing a knowledge and skills gap and labour shortages in skilled industry sectors. This is an unforeseen (??) negative by-product of the push to improve population-wide educational outcomes which saw these economies strive to increase the amount of university places available through the 1990s an onwards and which took the percentage of young people going to university from less than 10% to over 50%. As a result, those in the middle who may have looked to apprenticeships in advanced industry sectors, instead took the option for upward mobility by going this new academic route.

Further education and skills courses took a hit and went into a downward multiplier. There has also been a failure to recognise that some people, for whatever reason, simply do not want to aspire to education and training and are happy in unskilled, low-paid work.

Thus, this day is part of a global recognition that we need to reestablish the high credentials and pride in skilled blue-collar work as part of a broad social and economic rebalancing.

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