Skills for youth employment

Students and teacher at Dusit Vocational and Technical College. Bangkok. Thailand. Young female gas station attendant, Sao Paulo, Brazil Cooking lessons. Vocational training centre for the young of Rwabuye. Rwanda.
The ILO estimates that some 76 million young women and men were unemployed in 2007, an increase of 14 % from 10 years earlier. Young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults (Global Employment Trends for Youth, October 2008 ). One in five youth, or 125 million, are working but live in extreme poverty (less than US$1/day) (Global Employment Trends for Youth 2006). The issue of youth un (der) employment is a major concern for both industrialized and developing countries.

Skills development is a primary means of enabling young people to make a smooth transition to work. A comprehensive approach is required to integrate young women and men in the labour market, including relevant and quality skills training, labour market information, career guidance and employment services, recognition of prior learning, incorporating entrepreneurship with training and effective skills forecasting. Improved basic education and core work skills are particularly important to enable youth to engage in lifelong learning as well as transition to the labour market.

In many countries formal Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is an option for a small minority of young people. Apprenticeships in the informal economy offer many more young people an opportunity to learn a trade and enter the world of work. While building on existing local apprenticeship institutions, ILO’s research and policy guidance seeks to improve the quality of apprenticeship training, the recognition of acquired skills, working conditions and opportunities for young women and men.

Key Resources

  1. Improving skills and productivity of disadvantaged youth

    15 January 2008

    Employment Working Paper No. 7

  2. Conclusions on skills for improved productivity, employment growth and development

    13 June 2008

    International Labour Conference, 2008

  3. Youth: Pathways to decent work: Promoting youth employment - tackling the challenge

    15 June 2005

    International Labour Conference, 93rd Session, 2005 ; International Labour Office.

  4. Youth at risk: The role of skills development in facilitating the transition to work

    01 June 2004

    EMP/SKILLS Working Paper No. 19