Reimagining the future for skills: What we learned from young people

youth people

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) & Robert E. Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC


  • COVID-19 is casting a long shadow over the futures of young people all around the world.
  • On World Youth Skills Day, we asked young people their thoughts on redesigning education and skills for the post-COVID era.

For children and young people looking to gain an education and skills, COVID-19 has made a bad situation even worse.

Before the pandemic, they faced a growing mismatch between the skills they were learning in school and those needed for employment.

Now, under the shadow of COVID-19, over one billion are out of school altogether. And millions of young people who were set to join the workforce cannot find jobs.

 

This moment is an important opportunity to reimagine how, and what, education and skills are delivered to prepare students for a rapidly changing world of work.

But governments and businesses cannot address this problem alone.

So, on World Youth Skills Day, we decided to bring together young people from Algeria, Argentina and South Africa to hear their thoughts about how we can re-design and re-imagine education and skills systems to meet their needs.

The virtual discussion, moderated by Mari-Lisa Njenga, a youth advocate from Kenya, identified four important principles that should guide change.

1. Modern skills, not old fashioned curricula

You have 20th century teachers educating 21st century students. It’s like a 100-year gap.

—Ulises Brengi, 22, Argentina

There was a strong sense that schools and universities aren’t currently equipping young people with the right skills, and aren’t teaching in a way that makes the most of modern technology and resonates with young people today.

“I believe we need to make educators aware of the fact that education curricula are outdated,” said 20-year old Rafik Amrani, who studies business and computer sciences at the American University of Beirut. He thinks businesses have an important role to play. “They know which skills are lacking in their recruits so they can tell educators which skills are relevant,” he added.

2. Soft skills are key

Young people need strong communication and advocacy skills so they can ask for what they need and drive change.

—Maryam Elgoni, 25, South Africa

The young participants agreed that to be successful in the future of work, their generation will need strong soft skills such as communication, critical thinking and resilience – and that they’ll need to keep learning all their lives.

“When a policy doesn’t exist or a rule is in favour of a specific group in your community, you need to know how to be able to change that,” said Maryam Elgoni, a masters student in international relations. “For example, how to start a petition, organise a march, or effectively give input into a policy or your company programme.”

According to Ulises Brengi, a landscape architecture student at the University of Buenos Aires, we need to stop looking at skills as high-level, academic knowledge, and more as human skills. “I hope that this crisis will take us to a new and more responsible economy, not only based on making a profit. In order to achieve that, we need people with strong soft skills,” he added.

3. Digital connectivity and digital learning

This crisis has taught us that online learning is possible. It’s taught us how to use online tools to exchange skills, teach and learn.

—Rafik Amrani, 19, Algeria

Another theme that came through strongly was the potential of digital connectivity and online learning to expand access to opportunities for young people around the world.

“To reimagine the future of skills, I think we need more diverse online learning exchange programmes. And if we can make sure every young person, everywhere, has access to a cellphone and the internet, it’s a way for us to build a fairer future for skills,” Brengi added.

4. Reach vulnerable communities

In Sudan where I grew up, you don’t necessarily aspire to become an engineer, you aspire to become someone’s wife and I think that needs to change.

—Maryam Elgoni, 25, South Africa

Access was another key theme we discussed during the session. “It’s the notion of decentralising education and understanding that it doesn’t only happen in the classroom,” explained Elgoni. “It’s also about specifically trying to reach out to those who are in vulnerable situations.

“On the business side, it’s about creating opportunities for people in vulnerable spaces,” she added. “When you think of people getting internships, it’s often because they’re in the suburbs or they’re able to access office parks. We need to make sure young people in vulnerable communities have access to those opportunities too.”

Elgoni also shared a powerful vision for the future which we should all aspire to: “I look forward to a future where every young person who has a dream will never feel their dream is limited because of their circumstances,” she said. “That there is no skill that is unreachable because of who you are or where you are.”

Watch highlights from our session in the video above.

The session was just one expression of our shared commitment to helping to address the growing gap between the skills people have and those needed for the new digital world. Earlier this year, PwC and UNICEF embarked on a global collaboration to help upskill millions of young people around the world. In addition, as founding partners of the World Economic Forum’s Reskilling Revolution Platform, our organizations are contributing to the initiative to provide better jobs, education, and skills to one billion people by 2030. We’re also supportive of the Forum’s Great Reset initiative, aimed at creating a fairer, more sustainable world after the pandemic.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see http://www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, product or service.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

High anxiety calls for innovation in digital mental health

Statement by the European Commission following the first meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee

George Floyd: these are the injustices that led to the protests in the United States

GSMA Mobile 360 in Kuala Lumpur– Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

Brexit talks: 2nd round fails to bring the EU and the UK closer on key issues

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

How the EU sees its own and Russia’s role in Ukraine

How the tech sector can power the shift to a sustainable economy

Pakistan: UN Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ terrorist attacks

Dare to be vulnerable, and three other lessons in leadership

Mergers: Commission refers acquisition of newly created joint venture by Telefónica and Liberty Global to the UK competition authority

Improve collection of data on disasters, Secretary-General Guterres urges

Inclusion, equality a must for ‘long-lasting peace and sustainable development’, UN official tells high-level event in Baku

How cities can become more resilient to climate change

North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid ‘increased sophistication’ of attackers, warns UN

Learn from the margin, not the center: digital innovation with social impact as transformative force bridging digital divide

2014 will bring more European Union for the big guys and less for the weak

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

South Africa still hasn’t won LGBTQ+ equality. Here are 5 reasons why

3.7 million lives could be saved by 2025 if health services ramp up nutrition actions: WHO

The Commission unsuccessfully pretends to want curbing of tax evasion

Sudan: UN chief deplores excessive force used against pro-democracy protesters, calls on military and civilian leaders to ‘stay the course’ in negotiations

UN ‘stands in solidarity’ with cyclone-hit India – Secretary-General Guterres

The new assembly lines: Why AI needs low-skilled workers too

FROM THE FIELD: Chad returnees’ reluctant homecoming

Immigration crisis at its very worst: EU to outsource rescue business to North Africa?

This man is installing 100 trash barriers in Bali’s rivers to stop plastic pollution

Call to revitalize ‘language of the ancestors’ for survival of future generations: Indigenous chief

Yemen hospital airstrike under investigation amid resurgence of deadly cholera

5G will drive Industry 4.0 in the Middle East and Africa

The UK is on a record-breaking run of coal-free power

4 steps for looking after our mental health during these unsettling times

Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming At the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China

Paid paternity leave should be the norm in the US

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

Deaths from far-right terrorism have more than tripled in the West

What happiness can teach us about how we measure human development

A for-profit project has improved nutrition in Rwanda – is it a model that can eliminate hunger across Africa?

Guinea-Bissau needs ‘genuinely free and fair elections’ to break cycle of instability

VAT: EU Member States still losing almost €150 billion in revenues according to new figures

Malta: MEPs conclude fact-finding visit to assess Caruana Galizia murder inquiry

FROM THE FIELD: Malawi farmers diversify to fight climate change

How technology is driving a fourth wave of environmentalism

Ben Stiller’s new role, more about hope than humour, as he’s named Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR

European Commission: the LED lights of your Audi A6 shall save our planet

Sweden has a plan to end all traffic accident deaths

Autumn 2019 Economic Forecast: A challenging road ahead

Technology as an inclusion method while facing the COVID-19 pandemic: the “Coronavirus-SUS” app

Coronavirus: here’s what you need to know about face masks

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

Poor quality is healthcare’s silent killer. Here’s what we can do about it

COVID-19 vaccines: EU must respond with unity and solidarity

COP21 Breaking News: “There is an ecological debt that the world needs to pay back to Africa”, French President Francois Hollande promises 2 Billion euros by 2020 from Paris

IMAGINATION, FACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES – THE UNLIMITED POWER OF CHINA

Russia and the West use the same tactics to dismember Ukraine

The IMF overstates the risks for Eurozone and downgrades the threats for the US economy

EU helps tackle air pollution in Kosovo with €76.4 million

In polarized America, a new divide looms

How COVID-19 will change the way we design our homes

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s