Workforce Development

Overview

Workforce development initiatives build the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that youth need to obtain and participate in productive work. Activities in this area strive to bring the private and public sector together to ensure that education improves both the workforce readiness and technical skills necessary for youth to participate in the world of work effectively.

Where are we now?

Workforce development as a field is hard to generalize due to its many different providers, approaches, and target populations, which range from universities educating highly-skilled medical personnel to community organizations providing basic literacy skills to out-of-school youth.  However, increasing global unemployment and events, such as the Arab Spring, have highlighted a common problem of these providers - their services have not kept pace with changes in the private sector, leading to widespread mismatches between skills available and those demanded. Practitioners are responding through a renewed emphasis on collaboration with the private sector to ensure that educational institutions and community organizations are providing demand-driven skills to students, while employers invest in improved on-the-job training to build the skills of new employees quickly and cost-effectively.

Trends and Best Practices

  • Private sector buy-in is critical in developing the programs that link young people to formal employment opportunities. When the private sector is an invested party with donors and social organizations, there is greater possibility for young people to access employment opportunities as they continuously develop their skills and knowledge.
  • Young people and their families are looking for programs that offer practical and hands on opportunities, such as apprenticeships with trade based companies or internships with companies or NGO's. Some programs offer voucher systems that cover the cost of the internships, which have been particularly successful for young women seeking employment in more conservative countries. Participation in workforce development programs often increases when these practical opportunities for relevant skills application are included.
  • Many vocational institutions are not best placed to develop the technical skills of young people given the high rate of change in technology and the challenges for these institutions to keep pace. The private sector, on the other hand, has to keep pace with the market to remain competitive and therefore offers an alternative housing of skills development offerings.
  • Historically, workforce development focused primarily on building technical skills required for a given trade. However, most programs now recognize the importance of incorporating work-readiness skills, including basic literacy, numeracy, and job conduct. If these skills are lacking, it will make their ability to function in the workplace and learn more specialized vocational skills very weak.1
  • Creating employment opportunities is just as important as skills building and should encompass all types of employment – formal, informal, and self-employment. The latter two are particularly important for vulnerable populations, such as women and youth, who may be excluded from formal employment.

 

Workforce Development: Blogs

RESOURCE: Digital Jobs in Africa: Catalyzing Inclusive Opportunities for Youth

The positive economic impact of the Internet is well known. Mobile and Internet platforms have increased access to improved agriculture, education, health, and governance services by otherwise underserved communities. Beyond improving delivery of key social services, Information Communication Technology (ICT) is generating transformative growth – growth that creates sustainable pathways out of poverty.

 

RESOURCE: Digital Jobs in Africa: Catalyzing Inclusive Opportunities for Youth

The positive economic impact of the Internet is well known. Mobile and Internet platforms have increased access to improved agriculture, education, health, and governance services by otherwise underserved communities. Beyond improving delivery of key social services, Information Communication Technology (ICT) is generating transformative growth – growth that creates sustainable pathways out of poverty.

 

BLOG: Where’s the Economic Opportunity for the World’s Youth: Findings from the Global Youth Wellbeing Index

Economic opportunity is a critical driver of individual and family security, and national growth, development and social progress. Harnessing the capacity of youth in particular, as producers and consumers, can be a boon to both national and the global economy alike. Yet around the world, youth in developed and emerging economies continue to face significant barriers to fulfill their economic promise and prospects.

Understanding the Workforce Development Technology Skills Training Landscape

In our rapidly changing, hyper-connected world, the information and communication technology (ICT) industry is driving economic growth, innovation, and job creation. More than 50 percent of today’s jobs require some degree of technology skills, and experts say that percentage will increase to 77 percent in the next decade.

Resource Type: 
Toolkit

Digital Jobs in Africa: Catalyzing Inclusive Opportunities for Youth

The positive economic impact of the Internet is well known. Mobile and Internet platforms have increased access to improved agriculture, education, health, and governance services by otherwise underserved communities. Beyond improving delivery of key social services, Information Communication Technology (ICT) is generating transformative growth – growth that creates sustainable pathways out of poverty.

 

Resource Type: 
Report

Emerging Opportunities: Monitoring and Evaluation in a Tech-Enabled World

In Emerging Opportunities: Monitoring and Evaluation in a Tech-Enabled World, Michael Bamberger and Linda Raftree review how ICT-enabled technologies are already being applied in program monitoring and survey research, for example in youth workforce development and education programming. They also review areas where ICTs are starting to be applied in program evaluation and identify new areas in which new technologies can potentially be applied.

Resource Type: 
Paper