World Youth Skills Day 2020

Skills for a Resilient Youth in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond

The World Youth Skills Day 2020 took stock of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on skills development and explore how young people can respond to the economic crisis. The focus was on helping young people be more resilient to changes caused by the current crisis and in the world of work in general.

© Kivanc Ozvardar / ILO
World Youth Skills Day, observed annually on 15 July, celebrates the importance of equipping young people with skills for decent employment and entrepreneurship.

This year’s World Youth Skills Day comes amid an unprecedented global crisis, and will highlight the need for helping young people develop resilience to face the challenges of employment and entrepreneurship, especially in sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These sectors include, among others, wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, real estate, administrative activities, accommodation and food services. The short-term reactions need to have a longer-term vision in mind to ensure that we build a better future of work for this generation. This includes helping skills development systems adapt to changes brought by the pandemic and by the longer-term impact this crisis brings to the changing world of work in general.

In this framework, a virtual event took place on Wednesday, 15 July from 14:00-16:00 GMT (10:00-12:00 EDT).

The event was co-organized by the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Portugal and Sri Lanka, together with UNESCO, the ILO and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. It aimed to take stock of the situation young people face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrate examples of resilience and innovation shown during the crisis by youth around the world, and reflect on how skills development can aid in the short-term need for economic recovery and the recurrent urgency to transition to sustainable development.

The event also presented an opportunity for ILO Director-General Guy Ryder to launch the ILO Toolkit for Quality Apprenticeships, Volume II for practitioners, as well as to announce the winner of the ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call, a global competition to identify innovative approaches to address skills mismatch.

The virtual celebration brought together young people, representatives of member States, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions and the public and private sectors, workers, policy-makers and development partners.

1st ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call winner announced

The first ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call has been won by the Domestic Worker Centre, an initiative of the Domestic Workers Association of Zimbabwe, for a proposal to provide specialist training in modern domestic skills to improve workers’ employability.

The winner will receive a USD 50,000 grant and six months membership of an ‘innovation lab’ that aims to provide technical support and mentoring to help implement their project.

The Domestic Worker Centre proposes the setting up of a training facility to upgrade the skills of Zimbabwean domestic workers, through both face-to-face and online courses.

The announcement was made by the ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, during the annual ceremony to mark World Youth Skills Day. The 2020 Day took the theme, “Skills for a Resilient Youth in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond ”.

Warm congratulations to the Domestic Workers Association of Zimbabwe (DWAZ) which has stood out from the large number of proposals received worldwide,” said Srinivas Reddy, Chief of the ILO Skills and Employability Branch. “The DWAZ is an NGO and a member-based network of Zimbabwean domestic workers founded in 2017. It provides education, training, advocacy and psycho-social support to empower domestic workers and to ensure they have access to decent work.”

As well as the overall winning project, 10 projects that made it to the semi-finals (two from each region) will be offered membership of the ILO Skills Innovators Network, which brings together innovators, governments, employers and workers organizations, TVET institutions, academics, and development practitioners, to share ideas and experiences and encourage innovation in skills development.

The ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call attracted 473 proposals from 96 countries, representing a wide range of participants, including TVET institutions, workers’ organizations, start-ups, NGOs, research institutions, and young people.