The United Nations at its General Assembly in November 2014 declared every 15th July as World Youth Skills Day.
The theme for the year 2020 is tagged “Skills for a Resilient Youth.” The discussion for this year which was an online panel discussion due to the COVID-19 pandemic was organized by the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Sri-Lanka to the United Nations together with UNESCO, International Labour Organizations (ILO) and the office of the Secretary-General Envoy on Youth.
Today, rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies in both developed and developing countries alike. The latest Global Employment Trends for Youth 2020, Technology and the future of jobs show that since 2017, there has been an upward surge in the number of unemployed, school dropouts or youths who are untrained in any skills.
According to the General Assembly in 2014, the World Youth Skills Day is an opportunity for young people, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institutions and public and private sector stakeholders to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
TVET is expected to address the multiple demands of an economic, social and environmental nature by helping Youth and adults develop their skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, promoting equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and supporting transitions to green economies, environmental sustainability and self employment.
However with the seemingly increasing number of COVID-19 infections around the world, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institutions have been closed, threatening the continuity of skills development and have also interrupted the growth of skill works.
Speaking on the World Youth Skills Day, some Youths who dared the storms and keyed into the initiative of developing their skills, explained that they were not only able to help themselves but also create job opportunities for the teeming youths and also train others in skills acquisition.
For John Madugu a Plateau indigene from Langtang South, he expressed that he has been into plaster of Paris (POP) for the past 15 years after he graduated from secondary school and could not go further with higher education due to financial challenges.
Madugu observed that as a Youth one must learn to diversify and not only depend on government jobs adding that, the population of job seekers outnumbers the existing job opportunities if at all there are.
“I truly find satisfaction in doing my job because I am determined and focus in developing my skills. I am glad to say that within the period of eight years after my training, I can comfortably pay my sibling’s school fees, support my parents and settle my bills without much stress. I have also been able to build a comfortable accommodation for myself which is one of the basic necessities of life.
“Although with the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, the skill industry has suffered set back as it has affected the nation’s economy and prices of materials in the market have skyrocketed. This also led to a drop in our clients’ patronage. However, we are still pushing on and hoping that things will improve in no distant future”, he said.
Madugu called on parents to inculcate the attitude of engaging the children in various skills training aside education so that it will be of support to the family and nation. On the other hand, youths should also embrace entrepreneurship because government alone cannot provide the job opportunities for all. They must be willing to contribute their own quota by creating job opportunities for others by equally training them with their own skills.
Also, Sunday Patrick Bode, a cobbler in Jos South LGA of Plateau State revealed that he started the work of cobbling 20 years ago and has through it paid his school fees to HND level. Bode who is currently a staff with Riyom Local Government has trained over 20 youths but lamented over the attitude of parents who do not care about the future of their children. He added that the parents do not pay for the training of their children or even buy the necessary materials for their training. This he said has forced him to buy such materials and train some of the youths from his own pocket so that they will also contribute in developing the nation. Encouraging the youths, he charged them to use the opportunity available to engage in learning skills as the white collar jobs are no longer available. He added that parents should also equip their children for a better tomorrow because the world needs skilled youths to develop the various sectors. He maintained that, one must dirty his hands today for a better tomorrow, “so get involved, get developed”, he added.