Education Matters, But Skills Matter More


Originally published by Devex on June 30, 2015

When I was 18 years old, full of ambition, zeal and energy, I graduated from high school in Kampala, Uganda, with good grades and a great command of the English language. With my gap year at hand, I combed the streets of Uganda’s capital, looking for a job. After being turned down several times for not having the right skills, through a friend’s mother I was finally hired at a fruit juice factory where I hauled heavy juice boxes. My strength was the only skill needed and I was thrilled to be earning a meager $1.25 a day.

The Impact of Financial Education for Youth in Ghana

Poverty Action Lab
We evaluate, using a randomized trial, two school-based financial literacy education programs in
government-run primary and junior high schools in Ghana. One program integrated financial and social
education, whereas the second program only offered financial education. Both programs included a
voluntary after-school savings club that provided students with a locked money box. After nine months,
both programs had significant impacts on savings behavior relative to the control group, mostly because
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Including Childcare in Youth Employment Projects

The World Bank, Adolescent Girls Initiative

In many settings, women are the primary childcare providers, and motherhood begins during adolescence. For young mothers without strong family and social support systems, lack of affordable childcare can prevent them from participating in youth employment projects. Accessible childcare services can increase young women’s participation rates in training, their productivity (in terms of decreased absenteeism and retention), and there may also be benefits for children’s development outcomes.

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Results-Based Approaches to Improve Inclusion and Job Placement

The World Bank, Adolescent Girls Initiative

Job placement services that help young people put their new skills to use are an important element of successful youth skills training programs. This note looks at how pilots in the Adolescent Girls Initiative focus on employment as an outcome and emphasize placement assistance alongside training. The note also describes how results-based approaches can be applied to encourage training providers to assume greater responsibility for achieving employment outcomes, and discusses the need for outcome verification and safeguards against potential pitfalls that incentive schemes may invoke.

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Measuring Impact in the AGI Pilots

The World Bank, Adolescent Girls Initiative

Through pilot interventions that are rigorously evaluated, the Adolescent Girls Initiative (AGI) is providing cross-country evidence on how programs can help smooth young women’s transition to productive work. Researchers and policymakers know a lot about the challenges faced by young women accessing the labor market, but much less about the types of programs that work best for helping them succeed. By measuring the impact of programs and delivering important lessons on design and targeting, the AGI evaluations aim to improve policy decisions around adolescent girl programming.

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Webinar: Lessons from Youth Innovators on Youth Employment

Feb 25, 2015 (09:30am)

“There is a great human potential, human capital and great natural resources in Africa, but for me, Africa’s greatest assets are the young people,” said United Nations Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi in 2013. Alhendawi is right. Today, there are nearly 300 million people between ages 10 and 24 in sub-Saharan Africa—and there will be nearly twice as many young people in the region by mid-century. They have real, undeniable potential to build a better future for the continent.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Paul Tough

How character is formed has been a topic of interest for a long time. But if we are to guide children and youth towards success in adulthood we need to explore the question, “Are these traits teachable?”. In How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, Paul Tough determines that qualities, also called non-cognitive skills - such as persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence - are the key drivers behind why some children do better than others as adults.

Policy in Focus: Youth and Employment in the BRICS

The International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth: United Nations Development Programme
The issue is dedicated to the analysis of the usage of social programs to promote youth employment in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries. The 2014 BRICS Academic Forum officially transferred the responsibilities of host country, South Africa to Brazil, providing an impetus to understand how the BRICS countries have made use of their extensive expertise in social policies and programs to go beyond mitigation of crisis, towards the realization of young people’s ambitions.
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Job Creation and Local Economic Development

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development LEED Program

This publication highlights new evidence on policies to support job creation, bringing together the latest research on labour market, entrepreneurship and local economic development policy to help governments support job creation in the recovery. It  also includes  a set of country pages featuring, among other things, new data on skills supply and demand at the level of smaller OECD regions (TL3).

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Labour Market Transitions of Young Women and Men in Armenia

International Labor Organization, The MasterCard Foundation

This report presents the highlights of the 2012 School-to-work Transition Survey (SWTS) run together with the National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia (NSSRA) within the framework of the ILO Work4Youth Project.

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