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

India's Skills Training Maze

Originally posted by Next Billion on May 7, 2015. 

This post is the second of a multi-part series about the skill development sector in India and how to solve the challenges of increasing both formal and informal sector employment. Read the first post in the series: “Skill development for the future”

How Innovative Young Africans are Fixing a Broken Education System

Illiteracy rates in West Africa were the highest in the world in 2009, but as recently as 2013 the World Bank reported that things were turning around. Across the region, many more children, especially girls, were enrolling in primary school.

Human Capital Report 2015

Talent, not capital, will be the key factor linking innovation, competitiveness and growth in the 21st century. More than a third of employers globally reported facing difficulties in finding talent last year and nearly half expected talent shortages to have a negative impact on their business results. Yet the world’s pool of latent talent is enormous. To unlock it, governments, business leaders, educational institutions and individuals must each understand better the global talent value chain.

Resource Type: 
Report

Promoting formal employment among youth: innovative experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Latin American and Caribbean region faces the daunting challenge of creating decent work opportunities for youth. Currently, the region has some 108 million people aged 15 to 24. Just over half of them are employed.

When youth begin their working lives, they must first overcome the high unemployment rate, which is two to four times higher than that of adults in the Region. All too often, young people go out in search of work only to return home discouraged.

Resource Type: 
Report

Youth and rural development: Evidence from 25 school-to-work transition surveys

Youth is a crucial time of life when young people start realizing their aspirations, assuming their economic independence and finding their place in society. The global jobs crisis has exacerbated the vulnerability of young people in terms of: (i) higher unemployment, (ii) lower quality jobs for those who find work, (iii) greater labour market inequalities among different groups of young people, (iv) longer and more insecure schoolto-work transitions, and (v) increased detachment from the labour market.

Resource Type: 
Report