Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth

Scaled up action needed on youth employment to make a difference in the lives of young people everywhere

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, emphasizes importance of partnerships to tackling youth employment challenge as he launches new ILO engagement platform to support the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.

Statement | 29 November 2017
Good morning everybody. Welcome to the ILO, to all our panelists in particular, and to the launch today of this new phase of our global multi-stakeholder collaboration, an initiative that aims to break silos, address fragmentation, and secure effective and innovative action in respect of youth employment.

The Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth was born last year out of our promise to young women and men and to society at large to tackle a youth employment crisis that impacts not just on our tomorrows but on our todays as well.

The ILO published last week our latest global employment trends for Youth. Once again, we face a stubborn and painful reality: that nearly 71 million youth are unemployed and another 160 million youth are working, but still living in poverty. Informality, irregular employment, and arduous school-to-work transitions persist. Our report this year also focused on the future of work for youth and the need for innovative thinking and action to combat additional polarization in the labour markets.

The Global Initiative is set to address these challenges by scaling up action and impact on youth employment through innovative and evidence-based interventions.

It constitutes the overarching partnership for youth employment within the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is based on an alliance of committed partners (many of them here) taking action on a variety of priorities, sharing knowledge and leveraging resources for more and better jobs for youth.

This multi-stakeholder partnership is in effect an open invitation to governments, social partners, youth and civil society, the private sector, foundations, the UN system and regional institutions, parliamentarians, the academia, and the media.

And to stimulate more participation and foster greater synergies at regional and country level, today I am very pleased to introduce to you “the Engagement Platform of Decent Jobs for Youth”.

The Platform is centred on the commitments of partners to promote decent jobs for youth. These commitments are ongoing and upcoming joint actions delivered in alignment with the Global Initiative’s objectives and guiding principles at local, country, regional or global level.

Furthermore, the Platform is well positioned to facilitate a direct contribution in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Your innovative solutions will be acknowledged during the UN’s annual reviews of progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, which will help enable their replication and their scalability.

I want to pause to thank in particular the Governments of Spain and Luxembourg for their material support to the Global Initiative, as well as many other partners who could not be with us today.

This is about partnerships and we have the social partners here today, the unions and employers. We have Nestlé with us in person, and I would also like to commend the continued commitment of Lukoil to youth employment and to the Global Initiative. Your support is most valuable and most appreciated.

I want to express appreciation to the partners who have agreed to be the first to use this digital platform, after the in-depth consultations carried out since the launch of this Global Initiative in 2016 at the ECOSOC Youth Forum. And I want again to invite new partners to join us because together we can bring about the scale, impact and innovation needed to drive positive change in the lives of young people everywhere.

Today I am also pleased to launch the “ILO Toolkit for Quality Apprenticeships” which corresponds to one of the key thematic areas of the Global Initiative.  This is a commitment that I announced at the Washington Meeting of the Global Apprenticeships Network in October last year.

The toolkit, which embodies our own advisory experience and analysis of good practices around the world, and has benefited from several intense rounds of expert discussions. We think is a unique resource to exploit and to support the development of quality apprenticeship systems; and we would like to insist upon the “quality” aspect of apprenticeships.

This toolkit elaborates on the six building blocks of quality apprenticeships. We know that quality apprenticeships trigger successful transitions from school to work. They spur cooperation between education and skills development systems, employers and workers, and public employment services.

We know that social dialogue – very much the key motif of this house - is the key factor of success, boosted by a stable regulatory framework and optimal and equitable funding arrangements.

This first volume is dedicated to assisting policymakers as they design and implement apprenticeships and work-based learning initiatives. It is to be followed next year by a volume for practitioners, supporting global action and advocacy, including our very important collaboration with the Global Apprenticeship Network.

Another thematic area of the Global Initiative which has gathered great momentum is digital skills. This past June we launched, together with our colleagues from the International Telecommunications Union, the Digital Skills for Decent Jobs for Youth Campaign with the concrete goal of equipping five million young women and men with job-related digital skills.

The campaign invites job creators in the public and private sectors to realize the potential of the information and communication technology and other digitally-driven sectors to employ youth with decent jobs and foster an enabling environment for sustainable youth-led digital entrepreneurship.

An effort that began with the ITU, to whom we express particular appreciation, and the ILO has today extended to multiple partners in government, education and training institutions and private sector. Take up has been strong and our joint invitation to collaborate through this campaign is open.

Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, in New York last September, during the General Assembly meetings, we focused on youth employment for peace. We are working with several partners in the UN System to implement the guidelines of our newly adopted international labour standard, a new recommendation on Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience, and though our Flagship on Jobs for Peace and Resilience.

However, colleagues, we all know that we need to do more and together to harbour the strategic advocacy, knowledge and resources needed to reach scale, impact and innovation; our action has to be commensurate with the size of the issues before us. That is the objective of the Global Initiative.

So we invite you to join with committed partners and world youth employment leaders and experts through the new Engagement Platform of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth; and to work together to make a difference in the lives of young people everywhere. Thank you.