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Upcoming: UNESCO-UNEVOC virtual conference on youth and skills

25 June to 9 July 2013, UNEVOC e-Forum

Around the world, the number of young people has been increasing, with the world’s population aged 15-24 estimated to have reached over 1 billion in 2010. At the same time, youth unemployment rates have also been increasing. The ILO estimates that young people are now three times more likely than adults to be unemployed. According to the 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report Youth and Skills: Putting education to work, one in eight young people are unemployed. Since young people comprise a large and growing proportion of the world’s working-age population, their employment prospects affect future economic growth, both in their countries and globally.

Quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is widely recognized as having an important role to play in tackling youth unemployment. TVET’s orientation towards the world of work and the acquisition of employability skills means that it is well placed to address issues such as skills mismatch that have impeded smooth school-to-work transitions for many young people. In the words of UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova: “We are witnessing a young generation frustrated by the chronic mismatch between skills and work. The best answer to the economic downturn and youth unemployment is to ensure that young people acquire the basic skills and relevant training they need to enter the world of work with confidence.” UNESCO-UNEVOC has made the topic of youth and skills, and particularly school-to-work transition and entrepreneurship education, one of its key thematic priorities for 2013-14 and is therefore pleased to announce that the next virtual conference will be looking to address the big question on how TVET can tackle youth unemployment globally.

The virtual conference will take place from 25 June to 9 July 2013 on the UNEVOC e-Forum, and will be moderated by Dr Gita Subrahmanyam, Research Associate with the London School of Economics Public Policy Group and a Senior Consultant at the African Development Bank. Gita has extensive experience as a policy consultant to international organizations and government agencies. Her economic brief for the African Development Bank, titled ‘Tackling Youth Unemployment in the Maghreb’, was published in 2011 just as the Arab Spring was unfolding. Since that time, Gita has been invited to participate in several bilateral meetings with North African governments to provide advice on youth employment initiatives. Gita will be moderating in collaboration with Katerina Ananiadou, Programme Specialist at UNESCO-UNEVOC and focal point for UNEVOC’s youth-related activities.

The 2-week discussion aims to collect knowledge, experiences, innovative ideas and promising practices in TVET which aim specifically at tackling youth unemployment. The discussion will look to identify the factors that promote youth employment, touching upon the role of entrepreneurship education and school-to-work transition. UNESCO-UNEVOC is calling for e-Forum members and the global TVET community to share their experiences, practices and concerns on this issue and is looking forward to hearing from policy makers, researchers, practitioners and of course the young people themselves. The contributions will be synthesized and summarized into a report, which will provide directions for future research and programme work in this field.

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page date 2013-06-11

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