Increase investment in education and skills training, and encourage entrepreneurship are some of the Global Youth Employment recommendations

64 million young people worldwide are unemployed. How can we harness and redirect their potential towards economic prosperity? This question underlay the opening of the Global Youth Employment Forum 2019 organised by the ILO in Nigeria. This three-day forum aims to boost progress towards meeting youth employment and sustainable development goals.

Youth employment remains a global challenge and a top priority for governments. To this end, we must establish measures and policies that reduce the precariousness of youth employment, promote entrepreneurship among this group, and ensure that their education and training corresponds to what the labour market actually needs. These were some of the conclusions of the forum attended by more than 200 young people from 65 countries to provide possible solutions to the employment situation of this age group.

Measures to provide decent jobs for young people

During the ILO Forum, the director of the agency and the young people and experts who attended suggested the following measures to improve youth employment and provide decent job opportunities for young people.

1.-Establish macroeconomic policies that favour youth employment: Improving youth employment should not only be a matter for labour or youth ministries but also for central banks, planning ministries, economy and industry departments, i.e. it should be the responsibility of the entire government. It is, therefore, necessary to promote macroeconomic policies and fiscal incentives that support youth employment, considering the different economic situations of each country.

2.- Increase investment in education and enhancing guidance: Increase investment to improve access to quality education and skills development programmes. This should be complemented by specific approaches that promote lifelong learning and facilitate the certification of competences.

3.- Ensure youth employment quality and its specialisation: Another proposal is that labour market policies should focus on improving the quality and inclusion of the labour market. This could benefit young women, young people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, the informal sector or the rural economy, as well as those engaged in hazardous work or belonging to indigenous or ethnic groups.

4.- Promote youth entrepreneurship: Other suggestions include promoting entrepreneurship and self-employment among young people. This requires replacing low quality and low productive self-employment with jobs that encourage entrepreneurship, productivity and innovation. The forum also echoed the rights of young people working on digital platforms.

5.- Defend the labour rights of young people: Attendees also advocated for gender equality and the greater protection of young people’s labour rights, including autonomy regarding working time, data privacy, access to the Internet, and the right to rest periods.

6.- Create more youth employment in emerging sectors: Another proposal to improve youth employment is to implement measures to facilitate job creation in emerging sectors, such as the digital, ecological, creative or homecare economy.