UNICEF Nederland (Programme Advisor, Youth, Education and Employment C Wouters)
24 juli 2019
1. If you look at the 3 regions that we focus on (MENA, Horn of Africa, Sahel) – can you mention specific trends per region which are relevant for the strategy. Are there, for example, specific sectors where there is much to be gained? Or specific skills that young people lack in a certain region or sector?
Some skills are needed/ are lacking across the three focus regions: 1. Based on market research we believe that young people often lack so called "soft" skills, which is feedback we receive from both employers and youth themselves. Skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, but also communication and team work are essential for any future job, regardless of the exact sector. 2. Any strategy aiming at building bridges from learning to employment should include a language skills programme. Even if young people graduate from formal education, language skills are often limited and not fit for purpose; 3. Entrepreneurship skills, so that youth can start their own businesses and initiatives in case access to the formal job market is limited.
Finally, in terms of technical skills, agriculture seems a large sector in all three regions. Construction is a sector we should look at for the MENA region, especially if refugees are able to return back in the future. In addition, all three countries should include skills for new sectors such as the green economy, which will create thousands of jobs in the future, but also ICT and digital skills.
The above combination would provide a very comprehensive and complementary set of skills: soft skills, language, entrepreneurship and technical skills.
2. Do you have examples of successful "scaled up" initiatives / programs in the field of education and work to increase youth employment, and if so, which ones? Or do you know of certain successful initiatives that are worth scaling up in the 3 regions mentioned?
UPSHIFT: https://www.unicef.org/innovation/UPSHIFT Techno-Girl South Africa: https://www.unicef.org/stories/south-africa-techno-girl-opens-doors-science-and-technology Amaluna Jordan: https://www.unicef.org/jordan/press-releases/over-400-youth-graduate-amaluna-unicef-supported-vocational-training-programme Life Skills and Citizenship Education Initiative: http://www.lsce-mena.org/
3. Do you have specific ideas or additions about how we can make young people part of this policy? How do we ensure that they participate in the implementation of this strategy?
Ask embassies to consult with youth in the three focus regions, what do they see as gaps and challenges, what would they like to learn; Establish a youth committee and involve them in the drafting of the strategy, but also let them provide feedback and quality control over the roll-out of the strategy. Appoint a youth ambassador (jongere), who works in paralel with the ambassador for youth (Tijmen) Invite young people to strategic meetings with private sector and NGO's, like the meeting in June, but also organize a separate meeting for themselves as well. This ensures that they are the ones speaking up, that they have space and are heard and don't have to compete for space with NGO's and private sector. Esnure that there is an established feedback loop, so that youth see whoich of their inputs were included and which were not, and if not, why not.