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.
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.
By Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Nov, 2012
Covering the only continent in the world with a significantly growing youth population – ‘in less than three generations, 41% of the world’s youth will be African’ & ‘by 2035, Africa’s labour
By David Smith, Diego S. De Leon, Breck Marshall and Susan Cantrell from Accenture, Jun, 2012
Accenture analyzes its recent US Skills Gap Survey to understand the nature and extent of the skills gap—and proposes seven strategies that companies in pursuit of high performance can follow.
By Gap Inc., McKinsey & Company, Corporate Voices for Working Families and the Taproot Foundation, Mar 2, 2014 03:38pm
This toolkit is part of a larger effort, driven by the White House Council for Community Solutions, that focuses on re-engaging opportunity youth. The toolkit was created to guide employers, step-by-step, on working with opportunity youth, with the goals of
1) helping youth find pathways that will lead to productive adulthoods; 2) creating benefits to the businesses that engage opportunity youth; and 3) improving community outcomes which can lead to decreasing the financial burden now experienced by the
By USAID and International Youth Foundation, Oct, 2011
YouthMap, a program of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), is a four year initiative supported by USAID to assess youth circumstances and support promising youth development programs and practices in eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
By Gordon Betcherman, Martin Godfrey, Susana Puerto, Friederike Rother and Antoneta Stavreska from The World Bank, Oct, 2007
The Youth Employment Inventory was compiled to improve the evidence base for making decisions about how to address the problem of youth employment. As policymakers consider measures to help young people make the transition into the labor market and obtain decent work, they are hampered by a lack of information on what their options are, what works in different situations, and what has been tried and failed. To respond to this situation, the World Bank compiled a world-wide inventory of the interventions that are designed to integrate young people into the labor market.
By Christina Olenik and Caroline Fawcett from USAID, Feb, 2013
By David Fine, Arend van Wamelen, Susan Lund, Armando Cabral, Mourad Taoufiki, Norbert Dorr, Acha Leke, Charles Roxburgh, Jorg Schubert and Paul Cook from McKinsey & Company, Aug, 2012
In this report, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) presents a comprehensive exploration of Africa's employment landscape. This research includes quantitative analysis of available national employment data, a survey of more than 1,300 companies in five African countries, and interviews with dozens of business leaders and policy makers. The report looks at employment patterns across countries and sectors, and assesses prospects for job creation to 2020.
By Nicole Goldin, Henrietta H. Fore, Aaron Williams from Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jan 23, 2014
Reposted here with permission from CSIS
Original Posting Date: Jan 23, 2014
This commentary is a follow-up to the CSIS Chevron Forum on Global Youth Workforce Development on January 15th, which the authors participated in. The video of the event can be watched here.
By Center for Development and Enterprise, 2012
This report summarises the findings of a CDE project on young people’s strategies for dealing with unemployment and the implications these have for policy development. Our work included a review of government policies, commissioned research from leading experts and engagement with expert researchers from a variety of fields (politics, economics, sociology, anthropology) through two workshops. CDE focused on three key issues:
• how young people are making the transition to adulthood;
By Mona Mourshed, Diana Farrell and Dominic Barton from McKinsey & Company, Feb 27, 2014 02:51pm
Around the world, governments and businesses face a conundrum: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills. how can a country successfully move its young people from education to employment? What are the problems? Which interventions work? how can these be scaled up? these are the crucial questions.