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Youth is three times more likely to be unemployed than adults: Ban-Ki-moon


In the words of UN Secretary- General Ban-Ki-moon, young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. They are today exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labour market inequalities and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions.

July 15 is World Youth Skills Day, and the United Nations is observing the day with a special event on the theme of ‘Skills Development to Improve Youth Employment’.

“Today’s world has the largest generation of youth in history. Their needs and potential are increasingly recognised in the international community. Young people hold the key to society’s future advancement, yet too often they face barriers to their personal progress. More than 73 million are unemployed, making youth three times more likely than adults to be out of work.

The turmoil prevailing in many societies today adds to the urgency of addressing youth unemployment. Too many youth in developing countries are trapped into working poverty stemming from the irregularity of jobs. They toil without formal employment or social protection. Jobs creation is not keeping up with new entrants to the labour market,” said Moon.

There is a dire need of education and training the youth and lead them in the correct direction. “India has a very number of youth currently. There is a soaring need for jobs in the market. If they do not find jobs, there could be serious problems socially,” said Smita Gaikwad, Sr. Vice President – Global Corporate Communications, Hinduja Global Solutions.

Talking about their initiatives, Gaikwad added, “Our skills program is designed to meet the needs of the youth aged 17 to 25 who come from the marginalised communities. We work with our partners to provide skills training in communication, computer and life skills which includes financial literacy. In addition to this, individual development plans are designed to meet their needs and vocational training is also provided on a need basis.”

Skills and jobs for youth feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and SDG target 4.4 calls for a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills.

Skill India, an initiative by the Government of India celebrated its first anniversary on July 15 with the first edition of ‘India Skills Competition’. The Make In India programme by the government calls for a large number of skilled population.

While the government has been introducing programmes and working towards Skill India, corporate sector is also trying to train youth and guide them further. ICICI Academy for Skills, an arm of ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth, launched its centre in Mumbai in January, 2016, to provide vocational training to the youth from economically weaker sections to help them earn a sustainable livelihood. The Foundation aims to provide vocational training to over 1 lakh youth by March 2017 offering industry-relevant 12-week pro bono vocational training courses, namely electrical & home appliance repair, selling skills and office administration among others.

“Skill development is critical for success in the professional world. It is also important for the country’s socio-economic development. Currently, 62% of the population is in the working-age group. And to reap this demographic dividend, we need to skill the youth to acquire the skills required to get the job or become self-employed,” said Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank.

Women are more likely to be underemployed and under-paid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts. RBS Foundation India runs a skill development program to facilitate enterprise and employment with a focus on women, youth and farmers in some of the most excluded tribal regions of the country. The program focuses on developing the skills of traditional artisans through a series of workshops that include, design, product development, financial and marking management.

The traditional skills of embroidery and bamboo products of the tribal population are converted to marketable products. “The handloom and handicraft sector represents an important source of livelihood in India, especially in rural areas. After agriculture, handicraft is the second largest employer in rural India.  For most, it is the primary source of livelihood.  Additionally, many agricultural communities, especially those who practice subsistence agriculture, derive a second line of income from hand-crafted products. By strengthening the sector, we not only assure incomes for the producers, but also contribute significantly to the national GDP and export earnings,” said N Sunil Kumar, ‎Head, Sustainability, Royal Bank of Scotland, Asia Region and CEO at RBS Foundation India.

Godrej Industries takes up skilling and training youth for sectors like sales marketing, construction labour, agriculture and animal husbandry. Talking about the major problems faced by the young unskilled population today, Dr Vikas Goswami, Head, Good and Green at ‎Godrej Industries Limited said, “Major challenges these youth face are they have dropped out of schools for various reasons. They lack life skills to survive in a formal professional environment, financial literacy and gender sensitivity. Life skills are one of the major issues and corporate India has a key role to play here. This will ensure long-term job retainment.”

Life skill is emerging as a very crucial factor for employment of youth. “There certainly is a skill deficit in India but skilling alone is not enough. Life skills are very important inclusive of long term vision factors like financial awareness, stress management, confidence, decision making and motivation among others,” said Saurabh Adeeb, Head of Operations at The/Nudge Foundation.

“Companies are focused on skilling but are on the traditional short term model. Our focus is on life skilling and building life foundation of the underprivileged youth,” Adeeb added.

Corporate India has been trying their bit to have skilled youth using their corporate social responsibility (CSR) roles. Skilling probably a step further with life skills is the need of the hour. Bridging the gap between job opportunities and youth would take the world to the correct direction; inability of the same may pose serious threats to the society.

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The CSR Journal Team