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World Youth Skills Day 2019

Learning to learn for life and work

CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO © UNESCO-UNEVOC/Teresa de Jesus Caballero Melchor

Every year on July 15, UNESCO-UNEVOC joins global celebrations to mark World Youth Skills Day and spread awareness about the importance of youth skills development. Designated by the United Nations General Assembly, the day is an opportunity to highlight the achievements of young people who have benefitted from skills training and call for increased access to quality training and skills development for youth around the globe.

This year’s theme, "Learning to learn for life and work", advocates for skills development as an important factor in improving young people’s transitions to decent work. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 calls on Member States to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Lifelong learning is also essential for the attainment of all other SDGs, including gender equality SDG 5; decent work and economic growth SDG 8; and mitigating the effects of climate change SDG 13. When equipped with the relevant skillsets, youth can help accelerate progress on the transition to equitable and inclusive societies as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to a recent International Labour Organization (ILO) report, the global youth unemployment rate is 13 per cent, or three times higher than the adult rate of 4.3 per cent (ILO 2018). A significant driver of high levels of youth unemployment is the mismatch between the skills graduates can offer and the skills demanded by employers. This impacts not only economies but also hampers the ability of young people to be active participants in society. The decreasing shelf life of existing skill sets, coupled with the need for quality occupational learning avenues to skill (and reskill) entrants to the dynamic labour markets, requires the development of responsive, higher quality and accessible Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems.

What does TVET offer for youth skills development?

Rapid technological developments, environmental challenges, and demographic shifts are affecting the way we work, live and learn. TVET systems around the world are currently in a state of transformation and innovation to respond to the current and emerging challenges. This transformation, though varied across regions and levels of development, includes a transition of TVET from being a vehicle for functional skills development for employability to the development of broad-based and transversal skills that enable its graduates to access further opportunities for learning and upskilling throughout the course of their lives. As transversal skill demands continue to evolve, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) provides a pathway for young people to develop their competencies and transition to the world of work.

Join UNESCO-UNEVOC on World Youth Skills Day to promote ‘Learning to learn for Life and Work’!

As part of UNESCO-UNEVOC's ongoing commitment to highlighting the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in providing youth with the opportunities to develop their competencies and accelerate their transition to work, we invite you to take part in our World Youth Skills Day activities:

1. UNESCO-UNEVOC SkillsInAction Photo Competition

This competition has been organized as part of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre’s activities to mark World Youth Skills Day.

The Skills in Action Photo Competition 2019 highlights how Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is:

  • encouraging youth employment and entrepreneurship
  • promoting TVET for all
  • facilitating the transition to "green" sustainable societies
  • promoting information and communication technologies (ICTs) and digital skills
The Top 3 winners will be announced on July 15. The first prize winner of the #SkillsInAction Photo Competition will receive a cash prize and a trip to attend European Vocational Skills Week in Helsinki, Finland, compliments of the European Commission.

2. ‘Inspiring Youth in TVET’ Story Series

The story series highlights individuals identified by UNEVOC Centres who are promoting a positive image of technical and vocational education and training in their community. These young persons are students, teachers/trainers or graduates of UNEVOC Centres. Access the story series here:

3. Map of UNEVOC Centre activities

UNEVOC Centres were encouraged to organize their own activities to mark World Youth Skills Day. View the map to see how the UNEVOC Network celebrates WYSD.

4. UN Exhibit - ‘Inspiring youth and improving perception for skills’

An exhibit entitled “Inspiring youth and improving perception for skills” is being held on 9-18 July 2019 at the Vienna Café Corridor in the UN Headquarters. The exhibit is organized by WorldSkills and UNESCO, in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Portugal. Selected photos from the UNESCO-UNEVOC SkillsinAction Photo Competition and "Inspiring Youth in TVET" Story Series are on display.

5. Panel discussion at United Nations Headquarters, New York

Based on this year's WYSD theme of "Learning to learn for life and work", a panel discussion is being at UN Headquarters in New York on July 15th. This discussion has been organized by UNESCO, the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, and the ILO, in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Portugal. The event will bring together the voices of youth, Member States, the UN system, private sector, civil society, academia and organizations.

6. Join the conversation


a. Twitter

b. Facebook

UNESCO's engagements on promoting youth and skills

In the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, UNESCO Strategy for TVET (2016-21) and UNESCO’s Recommendations concerning TVET are some of the key instruments stimulating global action in making TVET systems more effective in responding to current and emerging skills demands and promoting youth employment and entrepreneurship. In all these calls, skills development for the youth is a key priority area. The UNESCO-UNEVOC Medium Term Strategy II also places youth employment as a core thematic priority, to guide our programmatic activities to the benefit of the Member States represented in the UNEVOC Network.

Learn more

1. UNESCO-UNEVOC World Youth Skills Day 2019

2. UN World Youth Skills Day Homepage

3. UN Resolution on World Youth Skills Day

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