What can business do to help young people acquire the right skills to transition into good jobs?


(Kelly Trakalo) #21

Pearson completed a global internal project in 2015 around vocational employability. Looking across all different kinds of frameworks we created an internal framework that defines employability across four buckets: 1. Core Academic Competencies – this includes literacy and numeracy but also includes digital literacy; 2. Occupational Competencies (that support a particular discipline or career path – including credentials); 3. Personal and Social Capabilities (the so-called “soft-skills”) and 4. Career Transition Skills. All of these need to come together.

Pearson has focused much effort around personal and social capabilities. Identifying six categories: Critical & Creative Thinking; Communication - Oral & Written; Collaboration & Teamwork; Self-Management / Initiative and Mindset; Social Responsibility; and leadership. (http://www.pearsoned.com/higher-education/products-and-services/services-and-solutions-for-higher-ed/solutions/pearsons-success-solution/personal-social-capabilities-framework/) .

Our research has been across students, academic institutions and employers and the answer we got was a resounding “no” young people are not consistently getting these types of skills. The 2015 Manpower global survey of talent shortage points to a number of reasons why employers have talent shortages but lack of specific technical skills and soft skills are key components of the global shortage. (http://www.manpowergroup.com/wps/wcm/connect/db23c560-08b6-485f-9bf6-f5f38a43c76a/2015_Talent_Shortage_Survey_US-lo_res.pdf?MOD=AJPERES).


(Richard Sandall) #22

Young people everywhere benefit from good education, technical skills and the soft skills required to network, work in teams and communicate. For the majority of youth in developing countries, basic education is a challenge, and even where education systems are improving, it may be too late for those beyond school age. Even in developed countries, being young, by definition, indicates that experience and skills will be relatively lacking. But another key point is that in developing countries, the best education and training in the world will not alter formal job prospects dramatically where the number of job seekers vastly outstrips the number of formal job opportunities.


Hester le Roux said:

Thank you Panel. Let’s kick of straight away with our first question:

Q1: What are the 21st century skills young people need to make a successful transition into good jobs? Are young people currently getting these skills? How does the situation differ between developed and developing countries, between cities and rural areas, between young men and young women?


(Ndungu Kahihu) #23

Hi. My name is Ndungu Kahihu from CAP Youth Empowerment Institute based in Nairobi. We are a youth employability training and support program. We target vurlnerable young people.


(Tahsinah Ahmed) #24

Hello everyone! My name is Tahsinah Ahmed and I work for BRAC as the Director of its Skills Development Programme (SDP). I am assisting BRAC set up its SDP, which was launched in 2015, based on the learning of a pilot, the Skills Training for Advancing Resources (STAR) Project, which started in 2012. SDP envisages to provide competency based training to 500,000 (50% female and 10% People With Disabilities) youth and adults within 2020 and ensure jobs for at least 80% of the graduates.STAR continues as SDP's flagship project while new interventions are being developed.
I am very pleased to join the discussion and learn from the rich experience all of you will bring in.


(Debbie Phillips) #25

Hi I'm Debbie Phillips, Head of Citizenship for UK and Europe at Barclays. I have been with the team for 15 years and have had the privilege of supporting a wide range of employability programmes during that time.

Between 2012 and 2015 we at Barclays supported over 5.7 million disadvantaged young people with skills.

We continue to recognise that across our geographies young people in particular are disproportionately unemployed and that by creating access to employment we can, not only help people gain employment but also help businesses get the skilled talent they need to grow.

At Barclays, we have an ambition to deliver Shared Growth: products and services that create societal and commercial value, not one or the other. This means that we’re investing not only in employability skills programmes and future of work research but we’re also working to create access to job opportunities in high growth companies and with scale up entrepreneurs.


(Dorothy Stuehmke) #26

in response to whether youth are currently getting the skillsets they need - the youth unemployment rate is actually expected to increase globally as we near the end of the year. The sector still has so much more to do to ensure that all youth have access and opportunities to reach their full potential. From the partnerships we have and the programs we fund, we continue to learn about what is needed to improve youth engagement and their economic success. Today, the skills mismatch, or the misalignment between an individual’s job skills and the demands of the labor market, continues to challenge the youth employment sector.

Working to strengthen linkages between education and training systems and providing youth with access to mentoring, coaching and networks can help to create an enabling environment and the access they need to the support that will position youth with the skills necessary to secure job opportunities in the 21st century economy.

Our work with the Philippine Business for Social Progress is an example of how to improve the employability of senior urban high school students enrolled in a technical vocational track and help them choose their career pathways -- by establishing linkages for training or employment between the schools and local industries.

In addition to providing linkages, mentoring and building networks - this all provides youth with the confidence, access to relevant resources, feedback and emotional support needed to realize their potential, and develops the values, skills and confidence youth need to succeed in the workplace.


(Hester le Roux) #27

DFID – our colleagues on this Challenge - have pointed out that we should not think only about unemployed youth but also underemployment, that is, young people in poorly or irregularly paid jobs, with little prospect of improving their productivity or conditions. For example, in the DRC the youth unemployment rate is 8.8% but underemployment – those who work too few hours or whose pay is below the poverty line – is 37.8%.
Richard, would you say this is a particularly African problem or is it a more widespread phenomenon?


(Alan Large) #28

Hi Richard, I work for Tools for Self Reliance, a UK NGO which supports vocational training in Uganda (and other countries) local NGO's to provide business and vocational training to unemployed youth and other vulnerable groups. As a part of this we also provide refurbished tools so that the participants can set up a small business post training. What post-training support did DfID provide?



Richard Sandall said:

I am Richard Sandall, Private Sector Development Adviser in DFID Uganda. I’ve been with DFID 9 years, and in Uganda 3 years. As PSD Adviser I am responsible for designing and managing projects that are linked to business growth. In Uganda I oversee an agribusiness project, and recently finished a £10.5 million project in the poorer Northern region of Uganda that saw 30,000 people trained in business and vocational skills.


(Debbie Phillips) #29

At Barclays we partner with leading employability organisations to understand the skills needed and job opportunity areas, in order to achieve scale and support those hardest to reach.

Our research and experience shows that the rapid transformation in workplaces through the digital revolution and the growing importance in transferable skills mean that: support in digital confidence, IT, web development, cyber security, along with problem solving, resilience, communications and decision making are vital to young people’s employability.

We can also see that jobs in the future will mostly come from small and medium enterprises scaling. The OECD, World Economic Forum and World Bank agree that SMEs and new technologies are areas of high employment growth.




(Dorothy Stuehmke) #30

To address the last question on developed versus developing, urban versus rural etc. -- Last year, we commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conduct research entitled Accelerating Pathways that would bring new insights on how cities are harnessing the power of their youth population. Feeding into the overall project was a youth survey – an opportunity to gain first hand insights into the aspirations and perceptions of young people: More than 5,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 were surveyed, across 35 cities.

While situations differ between developing and developed markets, rural and urban settings, and gender, broadly speaking, common themes emerged across the 35 cities. Young people the world over expressed interest in working for themselves, and this entrepreneurial spirit is consistently high from the world's richest cities to the poorest. We also found that the gender pay gap persists; men earn at least 20% more than women in the 18-25 year-old age group. In addition, the majority of youth surveyed see computer skills as critical to success yet internet access remains unavailable to most.

We continue to leverage this research to help inform our grant making strategy. In many cases, it reinforced what we are already hearing form our community partners; it’s providing us with a solid rationale for investing in entrepreneurship (including female entrepreneurship); and for investing in online training and education.

But we all know too well, that there is no one size fits all, that we must continue to push ourselves and those we partner with to tap into new ideas and innovations and contribute meaningfully to support today’s youth and their economic journeys.


(Hester le Roux) #31

A question for Brandie – JAWorldwide’s recent report references the Economist’s labelling of the current cohort of the world’s young people as ‘Generation Jobless’. The report refers to the fact that as many as half of 15-24 year olds worldwide are not in productive or properly paid employment. According to JAWorldwide, how much of this is due to the fact that young people lack the right skills to transition out of employment and into good jobs?


(Ndungu Kahihu) #32

The model we use aims to link youth to employment opportunities by listening closely to who employers tell us they hire (or fire). It has become quite clear that for a young person to secure employment, having the hrad skills to perform the task is not enough. Employers tell us they want honest people who can learn quickly, work in teams, take initiative and be willing to accept new challenges. Some employers even say that they are willing to invest in training a young person on the job if they can show they already these 'soft' skills and altitudes. These are skills that are rarely taught in most training systems in Africa or only very poorly.

Hester le Roux said:

Thank you Panel. Let’s kick of straight away with our first question:

Q1: What are the 21st century skills young people need to make a successful transition into good jobs? Are young people currently getting these skills? How does the situation differ between developed and developing countries, between cities and rural areas, between young men and young women?


(Alan Large) #33

Hi Richard, I work for Tools for Self Reliance, a UK NGO which supports vocational training in Uganda (and other countries) local NGO's to provide business and vocational training to unemployed youth and other vulnerable groups. As a part of this we also provide refurbished tools so that the participants can set up a small business post training. What post-training support did DfID provide?


(María Jesús Pérez Fernández) #34

Underemployment is a phenomenon also in developed countries. In Spain, 26% of Young workers are at risk of poverty or exclusión according to AROPE rate. This means wworking conditions are not favourable for youth.

We also discovered how youth have been largely affected byy the economic downturn, suffering from dismissals at a much higher rate tan adults.


(James Sutton) #35

Hello all. My name is James Sutton and I work for sustainable development charity Raleigh International. We exist to create lasting change through youth. Because we work with, through and for young people our programming includes two aspects critical to employability.

Firstly we deliver employability via soft skills development through our volunteer experience for young people from the developing countries where we work.

Secondly we deliver employability via our Youth Entrepreneurship programming – the focus here is self-employment of course, but in order to make young people ready to start a micro-enterprise we use youth-to-youth training methodologies to capacity-build in elements such as literacy, numeracy and of tools such as Business Model Canvas.


(Lewis Temple) #36

I would be intrigued by the thoughts of the panel on the role of apprenticeships in providing a pathway to employment, either in place of or together with - formal skills training?


(Richard Sandall) #37


Hi Alan, there was a range of support. In one project (implemented bty VSO) they provided start up business kits to groups of youth who submitted winning business plans. The challenge sometimes was the grant size wasn't big enough to support all the members of the groups, and the numbers dropped off. In another component (implemented by Youth Business International), business mentoring and business advice services were provided post training - these had a strong effect for those self selecting into the post training support.


Alan Large said:

Hi Richard, I work for Tools for Self Reliance, a UK NGO which supports vocational training in Uganda (and other countries) local NGO's to provide business and vocational training to unemployed youth and other vulnerable groups. As a part of this we also provide refurbished tools so that the participants can set up a small business post training. What support post-training support did DfID provide?



Richard Sandall said:

I am Richard Sandall, Private Sector Development Adviser in DFID Uganda. I’ve been with DFID 9 years, and in Uganda 3 years. As PSD Adviser I am responsible for designing and managing projects that are linked to business growth. In Uganda I oversee an agribusiness project, and recently finished a £10.5 million project in the poorer Northern region of Uganda that saw 30,000 people trained in business and vocational skills.


(Brandie Conforti) #38


Hester - We believe it is significant and it is directly the result of a skills mismatch between what the educational system offers and what skills businesses expect their future employees to have. As the economy grows more complex, students not only lack the soft skills needed, but also the technical or "hard skills" needed to address the jobs that need to be filled in the economy.


Hester le Roux said:

A question for Brandie – JAWorldwide’s recent report references the Economist’s labelling of the current cohort of the world’s young people as ‘Generation Jobless’. The report refers to the fact that as many as half of 15-24 year olds worldwide are not in productive or properly paid employment. According to JAWorldwide, how much of this is due to the fact that young people lack the right skills to transition out of employment and into good jobs?


(Augustine Malija) #39

These skills vary based on the category of young people. Category one include those in formal high school system and those in informal schooling while category two include those in higher education.

The first category need vocational entrepreneurial skills married with formal education’s life and soft skills. A large number of this category of young people across East Africa recommend vocational skills training. The Think Tank research finds it interesting if these vocational skills are entrepreneurial to help youth obtain sustainable jobs and businesses. Growing up in rural Tanzania, I knew Bundo, a young person who while pursuing high school decided to be trained on welding. Though he did not make it to senior high schools his welding skills offered him a job. Now Bundo is helping providing a living to his young siblings since his family is financially needy. He is an example of a few young people taking initiatives to diversify their skill set.

The second category needs a more hands-on delivery of life and soft skills. We are a few number of youth who are likely to work in formal employment. We need life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and self-awareness; soft skills like communication, interpersonal and an upkeep of technology, mainly a thorough knowledge on basic computing. These are skills, I am sure, are needed by employers. Having a conversation with a Deloitte Principal consultant on why there has to be aptitude tests, I realized they measure these skills as well as preparedness for a job. These tests appear to be unfriendly to young people though!

Generally, both groups need an understanding of the human centered design approach that is taking popularity. This is an important skill that in needed to both employed and entrepreneur youth.


(Ndungu Kahihu) #40

The major difference between developed and developing countries in as far as soft skills are concerned is the wide range of support offered in developed countries to young people during and after school in an effort to provide them with prior exposure to the world of work. These include 'take your child to school' summer jobs, internships, job centers, tax incentives and many others. This system is largely missing in Africa. For many African youth the first contact they get with the world of work is when they go for a job interview. This is something that Business could support and encourage.