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

Cultivating an ecosystem for youth development – Part 2 – Advancing Leaderly Capacities

In my last blog, I discussed the cultivation of ecosystems for youth development. I highlighted the importance of interconnected change mechanisms, the role of feedback loops, and how change mechanisms can work together to foster capabilities in young people.

To fight unemployment, teach people to be entrepreneurs

Originally published by the World Economic Forum on April 9, 2015. 

DJA Network "Knowledge Sharing & Networking" Workshops

 

 

The three phases include:

 

Jobs for the Future

This report deals with perhaps one of the most pressing issues facing employers and employees, students and teachers, politicians and experts today: what and where are tomorrow’s jobs and what skills will they require? While it is understandably difficult to extrapolate trends, data and interviews with experts helps to inform predictions and forecast. The report looks at global trends but links also to two case studies carried out in Ghana and Vietnam.

Resource Type: 
Report

Out-of-School Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Policy Perspective

The economic and social prospects are daunting for the 89 million out-of-school youth who comprise nearly half of all youth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Within the next decade when this cohort becomes the core of the labor market, an estimated 40 million more youth will drop out, and will face an uncertain future without work and life skills. Their lack of work and life skills will impair these youth’s ability to get good jobs in desirable occupations, resulting in low and unstable incomes while exposing them to potentially long periods of unemployment.

Resource Type: 
Report

Fast Facts: Economic Empowerment of Youth

Youth unemployment, underemployment and wages that are below the poverty line ($1.25 per day) diminish human and social capital and are associated with poorer health and educational outcomes. This contributes to long-term, intergenerational poverty and inequality leading to weaker resistance to shocks, and weaker social cohesion.

In its development policy and practice concerning youth, UNDP sees decent work and livelihood creation as chief determinants of socio-economic empowerment of youth and a contributor to the achievement of sustainable human development. 

Resource Type: 
Report