Young people today are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. In addition, they are exposed to low-skilled jobs, greater inequality in the labour market and greater insecurity in the transition from school to work. In this regard, young women are more likely to be unemployed and earn lower wages than men and temporary jobs are also more widespread.

Consequently, education and training are key aspects to being successful in the labour market. Unfortunately, existing educational systems are unable to address the learning needs of many young people. The results of surveys conducted on this gap indicate that a large number of young people display low performance levels regarding basic skills. Therefore, one of the most prominent features in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development is job qualifications for young people. More specifically, point 4.4 requires a substantial increase in the number of young people and adults who have the relevant skills.

With this in mind, 15 July is the World Youth Skills Day, and the United Nations is celebrating the occasion with a special event titled “Skills for the Future of Work”. Such a symbolic day was chosen unanimously by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2014. Promoted by Sri Lanka, this public-private cooperation initiative was embraced from the beginning by the Special Envoy on Youth, Ahmed Alhendawi, the G77, and China.

This event is in line with the sustainable development goals for 2030, which aim to ensure equitable and quality education on the one hand, and promote economic growth and decent jobs for all, on the other.