World Youth Skills Day: Skills for a Resilient Youth in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond


15 July 2020 - The COVID-19 crisis has forced everyone to adapt to a new way of living, working, and studying. For youth, the pandemic is particularly severe across three dimensions: (1) disruptions to education, training and work-based learning; (2) increased difficulties for young jobseekers and new labour market entrants; and (3) job and income losses, along with the risk of deteriorating quality of employment. The best way to develop policy responses to mitigate the impacts of the crisis for youth is through inclusive social dialogue.


Most governments around the world have temporarily closed education and training institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. The lack of access to education and training could exacerbate existing inequalities affecting workers and learners around the globe. The shift to online or distance learning during the pandemic should be seen first and foremost as an emergency response. However, the crisis also provides an opportunity for the development of more flexible learning solutions that make better use of distance learning and digital solutions. Schools and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) providers will need to coordinate their learning offer, together with employment service centres to activate virtual learning ecosystems that can help learners choose and successfully complete the learning options most suitable to them. Social dialogue is a key component of this process, ensuring that learning solutions suit the needs of students, workers and employers more broadly.


The Global Deal will publish its second Flagship Report later this year explaining the connection between social dialogue and improving the quality, access, and outcomes for lifelong learning and skills development. The report will feature how social partners and governments are using social dialogue in countries all over the world. For example, In Latin America, 40% of TVET institutions have expanded participation in their existing distance courses, with 20% now offering new courses through their online training platforms and yet others having contracted external suppliers to provide access to Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), usually free of charge and open to the entire population. In Europe, countries have shared TVET specific content to increase the capacity to go digital quickly, including Belgium, Croatia, France, Romania and Spain.


The digital divide and the uneven access to equipment, tools and skills it implies are of particular concern. The rush to go online must not widen existing inequalities. While some government services and corporate business are more likely to have ready-made online learning solutions for their employees, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) typically will not. SMEs require specific support from service providers and local employment services to promote up-skilling and re-skilling of their employees during this period. The already important role of employment services has thus taken on greater significance as the number of people who have lost their jobs continues to grow. The importance of social dialogue in these circumstances cannot be stressed enough.


The second Global Deal Flagship Report will be launched at a high-level event on 20 October 2020. The report will be available for all to download on the Global Deal website.



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