The level of global youth unemployment has been a problem for many years. Although there is no easy fix the recent Global Employment Trends for Youth report does mention the increase in investments in worthwhile employment for young people. Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO) highlighted some of the many ways that countries, with ILO support, are aiming to tackle the youth employment challenge:
• Recommending that government policies support employment and lift aggregate demand, including public employment programmes, wage and training subsidies, sectoral programmes, counter-cyclical fiscal policies and youth entrepreneurship interventions.
• Labour-market training and work experience programmes targeting young people so that they don’t leave the labour force. To achieve this there needs to be quality apprenticeships, informal or formal, is another solution for ensuring school-to-work transition, and a top priority for the ILO. In countries where apprenticeship systems are strong, youth unemployment rates are no higher than those for adults.
• Forging partnerships for scaling up investments in decent jobs for youth. Combining the strength of international organizations, governments, employers and workers to implement global policies can really make a difference.
Young people are often the most robust advocates for those very ideas we all support: an end to child labour and forced labour, equality in the workplace, ecological sustainability and decent work. We can all benefit from that energy and sense of solidarity and social justice.
In the interests of inclusive economic growth and an equitable transition to a more sustainable world, a sharper international focus on the issue of youth unemployment must be adopted. With the right will, we can develop policies to develop the skills and jobs that young people need and deserve.