Press Release: World Youth Skills Day 2016

(15 July 2016 - Bonn, Germany) To focus attention on youth skills development, UNESCO joined the world today in celebrating World Youth Skills Day on 15 July. To mark the occasion, UNESCO’s International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNESCO-UNEVOC) hosted a high-level event to highlight the need of skilling youth for sustainable economies and societies. Recognizing the essential role of technical and vocational education and training, UNESCO launched its new Strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as part of the event. Through the Strategy (2016-21), UNESCO aims to support its Member States in their efforts of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year’s World Youth Skills Day 2016 came at a pivotal moment. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations Summit in September 2015 as well as the recent Paris Agreement following the Conference of the Parties (COP21) highlight the need to reconsider the role of education and training for a more sustainable future, accentuated by stronger interlinkages between social, economic and environmental issues, as well as changes in the occupational landscapes. One group most affected by these changes are youth. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 73.4 million (13.1%) young people were estimated to be unemployed in 2015, and this figure is expected to increase in most regions by 2017. While youth made up only one-sixth of the global population in 2014, they accounted for 36.7 per cent of the global unemployed, and two in five economically active youth in 2015 were still either unemployed or working yet living in poverty. The situation becomes more critical when considering the gender gap in relation to youth unemployment. While labour force participation rate of young women in 1991 was 50.6 per cent (compared to 67% for young men), in 2014 it was only 38.9 per cent compared to 55.2 for young males.

That is why, the importance of raising awareness of issues related to youth un- and underemployment cannot be underestimated, especially considering their direct impact on, not only economies but also on transitions to equitable and inclusive societies envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNESCO is taking the lead in reasserting the importance of inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for sustainable development. As such, this year’s World Youth Skills Day emphasizes the role of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in developing entrepreneurial skills and institutional transformation for green economies.

To emphasize the importance of TVET, UNESCO’s Strategy for TVET (2016-21) was launched during the event. The Strategy’s priority areas focus on: (1) fostering youth employment and entrepreneurship; (2) promoting gender equity; and (3) facilitating the transition to green economies. The launching of the Strategy on World Youth Skills Day reinforced UNESCO’s commitment to supporting Members States in enhancing the relevance of their TVET systems and equipping youth and adults with skills required for decent work and equitable, inclusive and sustainable societies. In this sense, the Strategy reaffirms the importance of TVET for lifelong learning and is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal 4, namely to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

About World Youth Skills Day

Declared in December 2014 by the UN General Assembly, World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) aims to raise awareness about the importance of youth skills development as a means to address, amongst others, youth un- and underemployment. For more information, please visit


UNEVOC is UNESCO's International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

UNESCO-UNEVOC is UNESCO’s specialized centre for TVET and an integral component of UNESCO’s international programme on TVET. The International Centre’s activities focus on a number of thematic priorities and are implemented at the national, regional and international level in close collaboration with the Organization’s Youth, Literacy and Skills Development Section at its headquarters in Paris, France, UNESCO Field Offices, Institutes and Centres, as well as through the UNEVOC Network.

The UNEVOC Network is a worldwide network comprising of TVET institutions and provides an environment for exchange and mutual assistance. Through the development of North-South, South-South, and North-South-South cooperation, UNESCO-UNEVOC focuses on meeting the needs of developing as well as developed countries, countries in transition and those in a post-conflict situation.

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