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

Workforce Development: A shift into high gear

This year’s Workforce Development Track of the Making Cents conference saw more than a tenfold increase in proposal submissions and will feature a record number of panelists across nine distinct workforce themed panels. The lineup of proposals and participants provides terrific insight into the range and diversity of workforce issues that the development community and countries at large are grappling with, including public private partnerships, work-based learning interventions, soft-skills measurement, technology applications, career development practices and mentorship programs.     

OP-ED: Why Is Technology Skills Training Critical to Low-Income Youth Now?

Originally posted on Devex.com, September 22, 2014.

In our rapidly changing, hyper-connected world, the information and communication technology (ICT) industry is driving economic growth, innovation, and job creation…it’s also where the jobs are.

Digital Skills Gap

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.

Global Employment Trends 2014 - Risk of a Jobless Recovery?

The global labour market situation remains uneven and fragile. True, there are encouraging signs of economic recovery in those advanced economies most affected by the global financial crisis which erupted in 2008. Also, a number of emerging and developing countries − including recently in Sub-Saharan Africa − are enjoying relatively robust economic growth. The world economy may thus be growing somewhat faster than over the past three years.

Resource Type: 
Report

Understanding the Workforce Development Technology Skills Training Landscape

Microsoft and Making Cents collaborated to offer this framework to support development of a common language and greater understanding of the unique role that each stakeholder can play in the youth workforce development field. Our hope is that they will contribute to greater cooperation, joint projects and increased youth economic opportunities created by information and communication technologies.

Resource Type: 
Toolkit

Youth guarantees: a response to the youth employment crisis?

Youth guarantees are gaining prominence in the fight against the current youth employment crisis. The concept of youth guarantee implies an entitlement to a job, training or education of a defined group of young people seeking employment and an obligation for the Public Employment Service (PES) or another public authority to provide the services and/or implement the programmes within a given period of time. Several countries in Europe have positive experiences with guarantee schemes.

Resource Type: 
Paper