FULL LIST OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Workforce development initiatives build the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that youth need to obtain and participate in productive work. Activities in this area strive to bring the private and public sector together to ensure that education improves both the workforce readiness and technical skills necessary for youth to participate in the world of work effectively.

Where are we now?

Workforce development as a field is hard to generalize due to its many different providers, approaches, and target populations, which range from universities educating highly-skilled medical personnel to community organizations providing basic literacy skills to out-of-school youth.  However, increasing global unemployment and events, such as the Arab Spring, have highlighted a common problem of these providers - their services have not kept pace with changes in the private sector, leading to widespread mismatches between skills available and those demanded. Practitioners are responding through a renewed emphasis on collaboration with the private sector to ensure that educational institutions and community organizations are providing demand-driven skills to students, while employers invest in improved on-the-job training to build the skills of new employees quickly and cost-effectively.

Trends and Best Practices

  • Private sector buy-in is critical in developing the programs that link young people to formal employment opportunities. When the private sector is an invested party with donors and social organizations, there is greater possibility for young people to access employment opportunities as they continuously develop their skills and knowledge.
  • Young people and their families are looking for programs that offer practical and hands on opportunities, such as apprenticeships with trade based companies or internships with companies or NGO's. Some programs offer voucher systems that cover the cost of the internships, which have been particularly successful for young women seeking employment in more conservative countries. Participation in workforce development programs often increases when these practical opportunities for relevant skills application are included.
  • Many vocational institutions are not best placed to develop the technical skills of young people given the high rate of change in technology and the challenges for these institutions to keep pace. The private sector, on the other hand, has to keep pace with the market to remain competitive and therefore offers an alternative housing of skills development offerings.
  • Historically, workforce development focused primarily on building technical skills required for a given trade. However, most programs now recognize the importance of incorporating work-readiness skills, including basic literacy, numeracy, and job conduct. If these skills are lacking, it will make their ability to function in the workplace and learn more specialized vocational skills very weak.
  • Creating employment opportunities is just as important as skills building and should encompass all types of employment – formal, informal, and self-employment. The latter two are particularly important for vulnerable populations, such as women and youth, who may be excluded from formal employment.

BLOG: Cities as Drivers of Economic Opportunity for Youth

Making Cents International

According to the recently released United Nations report (“World Urbanization Prospects”), more than half of humanity now lives in cities. Today, 54% of the world’s population, 3.9 billion people, resides in urban areas, compared to only 30% back in 1950. The report predicts that cities will add an additional 2.5 billion people by 2050, with nearly 90% of this increase happening in Asia and Africa.

BLOG: Workforce Development: A shift into high gear

RTI

This year’s Workforce Development Track of the Making Cents conference saw more than a tenfold increase in proposal submissions and will feature a record number of panelists across nine distinct workforce themed panels. The lineup of proposals and participants provides terrific insight into the range and diversity of workforce issues that the development community and countries at large are grappling with, including public private partnerships, work-based learning interventions, soft-skills measurement, technology applications, career development practices and mentorship programs.     

Youth Employment in Fragile States: Building the Foundations First

ECDPM and IFC

High and persistent youth unemployment only reinforces fragility. IFC’s approach to supporting youth employment in fragile and conflict-affected countries is to help tackle structural issues in those economies, through an innovative ‘fragility and conflict lens. The scourge of high youth unemployment is a source of deep pain to economies and societies around the world.

Agriculture Ministers Urged to Address African Rural Youth Unemployment

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Youth employment should be at the center of any strategy to face economic and demographic challenges in Africa, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization José Graziano da Silva told a joint African Union-European Union meeting, hosted at FAO headquarters in Rome.  

Bridging the Gap from School to Employment in El Salvador

Palladium

The workforce situation in El Salvador is typical of many countries around the world – on the one hand young people struggling to find meaningful work and on the other businesses complaining that their growth and competitiveness is constrained by the difficulty and cost of finding people with the right skills and competencies.

Hilton Celebrates World Youth Skills Day

Forbes, Grads of LifeVoice

Travel and tourism is the fastest growing job sector in the world, with 86 million new jobs projected to be filled globally by 2026. At Hilton, our future success depends on whether or not today’s young people have the skills they need to succeed in life and on the job. Yet too many young people across the world don’t have the minimum level of basic skills needed to be gainfully employed. And as a result, young people today are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.

JOB: Technical Advisor II – Youth Microfinance and Livelihood

Catholic Relief Services

CRS is seeking a dynamic and motivated individual, who can help the Agency provide leadership in developing the business and marketing skills of vulnerable communities. Target clients for this work are poor households, youth, and women, mainly in rural and peri-urban areas. CRS has had considerable success in deploying its fee-for-service, private service provider (PSP), delivery mechanism for its savings and internal lending communities (savings groups approach) and more recently has extended the microfinance skills curriculum delivered by the PSPs to include financial education.

Young People & Agriculture: Strategic Priorities for Impact

Mercy Corps

While the narrative around agriculture in Africa can invoke a story of back-breaking labor and subsistence, with agriculture seen as a last resort option for poor, there is a much different story to cultivate. Investing in agriculture growth is 11 times more effective for overall economic growth when compared to other sectors such as mining, utilities, and services. In fact, estimates project that African agriculture and agribusiness could be worth $1 trillion by 2030.

Four Ways to Help Put Syria’s Youth Back to Work

World Economic Forum

The war in Syria will end. We don’t know when, but when it does, the challenge of rebuilding this once proud and beautiful country will rest firmly on the shoulders of the children of Syria – the next generation. But with the level of damage it has sustained over the last six years – to its infrastructure, its schools, and its hearts and minds – how do we stop Syria’s next generation from losing their way? During the post-conflict period of regeneration, youth employment will be key.

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