Young people are drivers of change and must be fully engaged in decisions affecting their future. Guided by the United Nations Youth 2030 strategy, I urge everyone to act for youth skills development as a priority, at the Summit and beyond.

       UN Secretary-General António Guterres

What is the World Youth Skills day ?

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. Since then, World Youth Skills Day has provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organizations, policy-makers and development partners.
World Youth Skills Day 2022 takes place amid concerted efforts towards socio-economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that are interconnected with challenges such as climate change, conflict, persisting poverty, rising inequality, rapid technological change, demographic transition and others.

Young women and girls, young persons with disabilities, youth from poorer households, rural communities, indigenous peoples, and minority groups, as well as those who suffer the consequences of violent conflict and political instability, continue to be excluded due to a combination of factors. In addition, the crisis has accelerated several transitions the world of work was already undergoing, which add layers of uncertainty regarding the skills and competencies that will be in demand after the pandemic is overcome. According to the United nations : “during this Decade of Action for the 2030 Agenda, the full engagement of young people in global processes is vital to generate positive change and innovation”.

What are Skills and why are they so important ?

If skills were not so important, there probably would not be a world day dedicated to it. The term “skills” covers a very broad spectrum of many capacities, it can be hard skills like soft skills.

For example, did you know that according to a study in 2016, 93% of employers term soft skills as either “very important” or “essential? And that in the UK, 97% of employers say that soft skills are key to business growth or success? However, 54% of the employees say that they have not included soft skills in their CV. What are soft skills? They are interpersonal skills that relates to how you work and they are gained through informal learning. Here some examples: -Communication skills such as listening, negotiation, nonverbal communication, persuasion, presentation and public speaking -Critical Thinking skills like adaptability, desire -willingness to learn, creativity, problem solving -Leadership skills, for example: delegation, conflict management, mentoring, giving clear feedback -Teamwork skills include: accepting feedback, collaboration, emotional intelligence, empathy, networking, self-awareness -Positive Attitude such as: enthusiasm, honesty, patience, respectability
What are Hard Skills? Hard skills are specific, teachable, measurable and definable. They can be taught in class rooms, through training material, books and on the job training. These skills are required to perform the tasks in a particular job. Here are some examples: -Computer Technology: Machine learning, HTML, Javascript,  -Communication Skills: Foreign languages, Digital communication – Project Management: Risk management, Strategic planning – Design: User Interface (UI) Design, Typography, Print Design, Illustration – Writing: Copywriting, Storytelling, Writing press releases…

As you have now understood, skills, soft and hard, are determinant for employability, especially in today’s world where young people are vulnerable face to unemployment and poverty. This is why we decided to involve all Praxis volunteers in this very important campaign.

How did Praxis celebrate this special day ?

As an organization gathering young people from all over Europe, it was really important for us to celebrate this day to highlight all the skills that young people possess and that will contribute in shaping the world of tomorrow thanks to the involvement of all our volunteers.

Here you will find the complet report of this day with all our articles and videos.

We begin with a first article by Pierre, a french volunteer :

THE CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN EUROPE
14/7/2022

 

Friday 15th July, we celebrate the World Youth Skills Day, it is the occasion for me to talk about my generation, our hopes, expectations and our engagement in the society. This year 2022 is the European year of the youth, after two years of pandemic and lockdowns that have deeply fragilized the youth, attacked the social condition of the most fragile among us and damaged our mental health, it is more than necessary to raise awareness on today’s youth, not only its skills, but broader, its state of mind.
I think we’ve all heard shallow thoughts about the current state of youth, it’s become sadly common to hear that “the youth of today” aren’t interested in anything anymore but social media and Netflix. It’s as if there had been the hippies, the youth of May 68, sexual liberation, the anti-globalization youth of the 1990s, and that today there was nothing left but idle youth who hopes for nothing and takes refuge in drugs and the virtual world. However, nothing is more false than this vision (caricatural, it is true).
I think we need to change our outlook on youth, we can no longer condescend to young people as a simple age category or the new generation who would have an adolescent desire to rebel. We must now see young people as a social class in their own right. It is an intellectual evolution that seems necessary to me in order to better take into account the needs and aspirations of today’s youth and quite simply, it is by thinking in this way that we can best prepare our collective future.

Are young people really passive?

Against the tide of pessimistic and declinist discourse based on old patterns, young people are actually filled with optimism and the desire to change the world.

Indeed, a global study commissioned by the UN’s children’s agency, Unicef, appears to turn that received wisdom on its head. It paints a picture of children and young people believing that the world is improving with each generation, even while they report anxiety and impatience for change on global heating.
The results suggest the younger generation are more positive and globally minded than their elders, skeptical of what they read on social media (only 17 percent of young people said they trusted social media platforms “a lot” for information) and more invested in science and the possibility of global cooperation and international institutions. Millennials and Generation Z are born into a more digital, interconnected and diverse reality, they are optimistic about the future and keep strong expectations for the future…
read more
Pierre de Chabot

We also thought that it was important to celebrate the skills of our own volunteers who all come from very different countries, backgrounds and stories. This is why we made a series of portraits presenting the skills of our amazing volunteers !

We start with the portrait of Ion, a volunteer from Moldova.

What’s your biggest achievement in life ?
In October 2021, I published my first volume of poetry named “Champagne For This End” written in Romanian.
What did you need to achieve this goal ?
I had to stay consistent, to study a lot about what is published in Romania. It needs to remain authentic, to not deviate from what I really wanted to speak through my poetry.
What skills would you like to develop in the future?
I would like to develop soft skills such as emotional intelligence, to take on many challenges that make me understand the world from several perspectives.

YOUTH, UNEMPLOYMENT, GREECE: THREE BIG CHALLENGES                          
15/7/2022

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One of the main issues facing the economy and our society is youth unemployment.

Since the Great Recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2022 high rates of inflation, it has grown rapidly. When seen from a European perspective, its expansion has been focused in Southern Europe, especially in Greece, where more than half of the young people in the labour market are jobless.
For many years, youth unemployment has been a concern in many countries. There have been many different policy initiatives made in response to it. However, despite the abundance of policy knowledge amassed to far, the so-called “Great Recession” saw a sharp increase in teenage unemployment.
The increase has reached previously unheard-of proportions and was particularly noticeable in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Greece. This raises important concerns regarding the applicability of previous policy lessons to the current situation of the young labour market.

The age group 25-29 in Greece is arguably the most concerning since, in terms of numbers, their unemployment rate is substantially higher than that of those between the ages of 15 and 19. Concerningly high percentage of this population are NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Despite being excluded from the typical definition of youth unemployment, this cohort was the youngest when the recession initially began. As a result, many people found it difficult to move from education to work. Whether this group is suffering cohort or age effects is a question to be pondered.

This is undoubtedly a crucial distinction in light of the damaging impact of unemployment on this population. Compared to young people in Northern Europe, Greek youths are significantly more likely to live at home. Spain and Portugal have a similar tendency. While this reduces the costs of unemployment, it may also limit mobility, lengthening the period of unemployed.
Additionally, there is evidence that many young workers are underemployed, working part-time jobs when they would prefer full-time ones, and working under temporary contracts when they would prefer permanent ones.
Greece has one of the highest percentages of young people who are unemployed among European countries. So, there is a good chance that there will be significant scarring consequences, particularly for the 25-29 age group.

These young people may still reside with their parents in an incredibly high percentage of cases. Greece has had the fastest rate of loss in its standard of living with the start of these crisis. Lack of mobility brought on by property market rigidities appears to be a significant challenge in Greece. Concerningly, there is little indication that Greece’s alarmingly highrates of youth unemployment will decrease very soon.

Marcel Gutenberger

 

Writing these top-quality articles is also a skill in itself, it’s a hard skill : writing skill. And it happens that it is the skill that our french volunteer Pierre thinks to master the best thanks to his experiences…

What’s your biggest achievement in life ?
My biggest achievement in my life so far is the creation of a media, called “Gavroche media” three years ago with friends from my school about politics and actuality.
What did you need to achieve this goal ?
This required me hard skills such as technical skills about the creation and the design of a media or the editing of broadcasts but also writing skills like article writing or prepare interviews with professors, politicians or scientists.
What skills would you like to develop in the future?
Hard skills such as juridical knowledge and financial knowledge but also some soft skills life for example to talk very confidently in public or to manage a team and resolve interpersonal conflicts.

 

As you have understood now, skills are essential for young people and young people are building the future, which means that we are responsible of tomorrow’s world and to make of it a better place. In his article, our volunteer from Romania, Andrei, is convinced that the new generations will build a better world…

GENERATION Z “THE FUTURE IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED WITH YOUNG PEOPLE”

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The next generation are the most important and most affected stakeholders when talking about our global future – and we owe them more than this. Young people are also the best placed to lead this transformation. The year 2022 is the time to start thinking and acting long-term to make intergenerational parity the norm and to design a society, economy, and international community that cares for all people.

In the past 10 years of working with the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, a network of people between the ages of 20 and 30 working to address problems in more than 450 cities around the world, I’ve seen firsthand that they are the ones with the most innovative ideas and energy to build a better society for tomorrow. Transparency, accountability, trust, and a focus on stakeholder capitalism will be key to meeting this generation’s ambitions and expectations.

Understanding a new generation – Depending on who you talk to, Gen Z consists of anyone born after 1997 or between 1995-2012. “Keep in mind they grew up in a digital world”

Generation Z has always known technology. They didn’t grow into it as Millennials did, it has been a staple since birth. For them, technology is a necessity. They are able to instantly find the information they need or want. Because of this, you need to have a handle on your online presence and advertising. Your business must have a significant presence on social media outlets. Gen Z wants to align with the brands that reflect their values and is purpose-driven, so be sure to highlight the heart of your business.

Gen Z and careers:
The youngest generation has been disproportionately affected by the dire economy, at the height of the pandemic in April, the unemployment rate for teens aged 16–19 was the highest of all groups, at 31.9% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Owing to this, career plans are up in the air and this young generation is learning to pivot, fast.

There are early signs of Gen Zers gravitating towards job security, opting for jobs in the civil service, as well as in health and science sectors. It is also a generation changing the traditional success metrics, shifting it away from fame and fortune to ethics and values. Research found that 82% say it’s important that their job contributes to the greater good and 70% would rather
do something meaningful than make a lot of money.

In my opinion, Generation Z is the generation that will change the world in the best version, being part of this generation, we are responsible for solving the problems created by previous generations. We were born at that time when information technologies began to develop, and we are armed with the best digital skills because we grew up with the technologies!
I am more than sure that we will build a better, friendlier, and more beautiful world and we will not leave so many problems to our descendants.

Andrei Barba

We close our series of portrait with Joan, a volunteer from Italy who since months has shown her amazing teaching skills helping many students. ..

 

What’s the biggest achievement in your life ?

It is undoubtedly the progress that my students have made in the Korean and Italian classes that I give here at Praxis. It makes me prou to see how much they have learned through the classes I taught them.

What did you need to achieve this goal ?

I had ti use my creativity to make the lessons interesting in order to create a stimulating environment which would be as informative as possible. Also, I think that my organizational skills really helped me to find the right balance to structure my lessons in order not to be too “heavy” for my students.

What skills would you like to develop in the future ?

I would like to learn more languages to connect with people all around the world and I would like to work on my leadership skills.

 

If you still have doubt and interrogations about skills and their importance but also if you want to deepen your reflexion on today’s youth, you should really listen to this great broadcast made by : Ion, Marija, Joan and Daria.

 

 

Finally, if you want to see what activity we did in the city-center of Serres and our meeting with local people, you can watch our video on the subject :

 

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Felix Neo Rieder

 

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