Word from UNDP RR on World Youth Skills Day (WYSD)

Jul 15, 2017

15 Jul 2017 – World Youth Skills Day

Formal education as we know it today, is relatively new.  It was not until the Industrial Revolution that classrooms opened their doors to the general public.  At the time, there was a huge demand for fresh labor with manual skills.  Industry tycoons sought laborers to work in factory production lines for low wages.  Two-hundred years later, in the mid-1900s, a demand for more versatile and creative minds began to surface globally.

Nowadays, everybody wants to hire innovators.  Creativity is now appreciated as an innate quality that defies age, experience and even education.  And who could possibly be more creative than the youth?

Nevertheless, young people around the world remain hard-pressed in finding employment.  According to United Nations, young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.  They are additionally exposed to a lower-quality of work, greater labor market inequalities, and unstable school-to-work transitions.

A recent International Labour Organization (ILO) publication stated that almost 73.4 million young people were estimated to be unemployed in 2015 (13.1% youth unemployment rate).  This figure is expected to increase by 2017.

Youth unemployment has a direct impact on countries’ economies all over the world. It also hinders the transition of economic growth as determined by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Opportunities for young people are also the core of the SDGs.

Today marks the World Youth Skills Day (WYSD2017).  It was established by the UN General Assembly in 2014 to shed light on the importance of youth skill development as part of the sustainable development of global communities.

Youth empowerment is an increasing area of interest for the United Arab Emirates government, which recently launched the National Youth Agenda.  Young people represent 42% of the national population and are regarded as the country’s most valuable asset.

The UAE’s initiatives are plenty. Expo Live, an innovation programme by Dubai Expo 2020, has set up a fund promoting creative solutions to help improve lives of young people. Another non-profit organisation investing in youth skill development is World Skills International, set up under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.  The civil society, through different initiatives, has also been active in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Participation is not limited to government entities. Anyone can observe WYSD by organizing activities and campaigns that empower youth with skills enabling them to overcome unemployment.

The UN Country Team in the UAE organises a Social Innovation Camp (SI Camp) which brings together young Emiratis from across the seven emirates.  The participants are chosen from the UNDP Youth Leadership Programme, another annual initiative that focuses on analytical thinking and social innovation in the pursuit of the SDGs.

We as global citizens need to focus on helping our youth to succeed. Young people need to be empowered through education and training.  Only then can they embrace their potential as entrepreneurs and innovators.


By: Frode Mauring

United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. and UNDP Resident Representative a.i. to the United Arab Emirates (covering the states of Oman and Qatar)

Twitter: @Frode_Mauring

Phone:+971 - 26961999


UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP United Arab Emirates 
Go to UNDP Global