World Youth Skills Day celebrated for the first time

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15.7.2015 – The first-ever World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) is celebrated today following the adoption of resolution A/RES/69/145 by the General Assembly last December to foster “the acquisition of skills by youth… [to] enhance their ability to make informed choices with regard to life and work and empower them to gain access to changing labour markets.”

In Bonn the day is being marked with a WYSD Events at the UN Campus and panel discussions on the “Youth skills for work and life in the post-2015 agenda.” Activities will also take place in other areas, such as the UN Headquarters in New York and also in Addis Ababa where the International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3) reaches its midpoint and in which skills investment is part of a broader framework sought by the international community.

Ban Ki moonTying these important agendas together, the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth released a statement from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, where, after welcoming the first ever commemoration of WYSD he makes a" call for investing politically and financially in developing the skills of young people so that they can help build a more just and sustainable future for all."

The rationale for making the issue an annual point of focus is supported by figures highlighted by UNESCO’s centre for technical and vocational education and training, UNSECO-UNEVOC. Drawing on data collected by the ILO and FAO to recognize the importance of WYSD, UNEVOC observe that "youth represent 25% of the total working age population but make up 40% of the unemployed," adding that "the youth unemployment situation is common to all regions in the world and is happening despite improvements in average educational attainment." This observation illustrates why the focus today and annually on this day, is on youth skills, rather than simply education.