Create jobs, yes – but give us the skills to do them

It’s good that job creation is at the top of the agenda at the G20 summit in Mexico today. But young people need the right skills to do those jobs – and now they’re demanding that world leaders finally give serious attention to developing skills.

At the G8 and G20 Youth Summits in Washington this month, a key message was that the unemployment crisis must be combated through education.

Last time G20 leaders met to discuss global growth and jobs, that key ingredient was missing. Without making sure young people get the skills they need, creating jobs won’t be enough, as Director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report, Pauline Rose, pointed out on this blog in November.

To prepare for the 2012 Global Monitoring Report, which will focus on skills development, we invited young people to discuss these issues on the blog Youth, Skills & Work. Many have expressed frustration over governments’ failure to provide the right skills.

“Nowadays, we have to develop our own way to learn and to be ready for the job market, because university doesn’t teach ‘the jobs-skills-required’ course”, one blogger wrote. Many more young people around the world do not even make it to university, and have even less of a chance of getting skills needed for decent jobs.

These calls for action need to be taken seriously. If governments and the private sector fail to give young people a chance to acquire the right skills, they risk perpetuating or worsening inequalities, losing opportunities for dynamic growth and fuelling the kind of youth frustration that has boiled over into protest movements across the world.

All too often, access to skills is unequal, compounding the disadvantage that poor and marginalized young people face. That’s why the 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report, to be released on October 16, will take a special interest in identifying and understanding what access marginalized young people have to skills development that can lead to jobs that can lift them out of poverty.



  1. Skills training is without a doubt incredibly important. However, is it not also true that skills training alone is only part of the solution in offering a hand up to the disadvantaged and marginalized peoples of the world. Skills training alone may not be the total solution needed to help both young and old living in some of the most poverty stricken regions of the world? Must we not focus also on teaching discipline, perseverance, and a sense of commitment? What is a skill without discipline? What good a craft without the will to persevere through desperate times? Moreover, how does one lift oneself out of poverty without a regional government that is committed to it’s people? I’ve been there, seen it, and wonder if any single focus solution such as skills development can be effective if unaccompanied by systemic solutions that inculcate hope, discipline, perseverance and commitment. Education accompanied with life-skills training may be the systemic solution needed to “lift them out of poverty.”

    1. I agree with a great deal of what you say here in your response. A holistic perspective is indeed preferable. Cindy Payle recently wrote that in South Africa: “The mismanagement of institutions and policies could be government’s biggest threat to progression and to date its biggest failure in the education sector admits Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande.” See:

  2. Many a times, the agenda includes job creation. But without proper emphasis on ‘skill development’, the agenda can never yield results.

  3. It is important that the government and private sector, who are creating the jobs, maintain a communicative relationship with educational institutions in order to ensure that appropriate training is provided and skills are developed that are applicable to these new positions. If young people are not attending university then technical schools and/or training institutions should be supported.

  4. I think it is important to consider occupational changes run along with professional requirement changes. Traditional patterns tend to lose some of their characteristics in favour of the emerging professional patterns.

    There are some evident differences with the traditional patterns whose main features are limited skills, importance of manual abilities, lifetime jobs or tasks, and a minor importance of social and communication skills.

    Some remarks must be made concerning the new skills. Which are these
    broader, “new” skills? are complementing general education,
    technical knowledge and those skills that young people already have when they start working: Social attitudes or skills (notably capacity for co-operation and team work) communication skills, language competence, creativity, autonomy…

    Actually, current knowledge, as well as those skills and attitudes that lead us to define a certain professional level, evolve faster and they are mostly acquired at work, not in school, without considering the activity or profession.
    For the Standards skills establish the links between the requirements of the economy and the professional competence is very important the players involved in identificate the skills needs in the VET have at the different institution levels( State, Regions Municipalities…) and extra- institutional players,social partner, of chambers of commerce and of other institutions in the VET

  5. It is extremely important to integrate work and vocational education and training in the school curriculum, so that students dropping out from schools at different stages of education may have some skills to enter in the world of work.The system must be strengthened in developing countries on priority basis. However VET is required to be revitalised,reviewed and given due importance in school education in all countries for developing competent human resource.
    Policy planning and coordination among various ministries and agencies responsible for education and training may be the prime concern to achieve goals of education and skill development in the country.VETis one of the alternatives for empowering youth and poverty alleviation to some extent.
    Also Industries have to come forward to take care of the skill dev. program by providing trg, facilities and standardisation of skills for various vocations on country wide basis.
    Skill mapping could be another tool for skill development initiatives and providing required trg, for upgradation of skills.

  6. The constant economic, social and technology change are bringing about profound changes in business structure and supply and demand in labour markets

    Economic sphere
    The globalization of markets and free movement of capital has meant that many products do not have national identity are investigated and developed in one country, in another are designed and its are manufactured in a third.

    The classic factors of production (land, labour and capital), i adding a fourth factor, the information. The raw material in the new paradigm (techno-economic) is the information and knowledge.

    To confirm the above statements we can see that currently the centre of the economy no longer hold only companies that produce and distribute products as thirty years ago but companies producing and distributing knowledge and information. Consider the value and market control exerted companies like Microsoft, Disney and CNN.

    The new age pyramid in most OECD countries, the level of education amongst the people, the emergence of new phenomena such as structural unemployment, labour discontinuity in the number of firms for which one provided their services and content of the trades that can be carried out during the working life, multiculturalism, the tendency to hedonism, namely, earn more, work less and have more leisure time, the cult of youth represented by the sport, leanness and dynamism as trends to follow.

    Technological field
    The development and innovation in the technological world, characterized by the ease and speed in creating new products and services and the explosion of telecommunications and information technologies are breaking into all areas of human life. Therefore, we can say that technological changes are not revolutions but one constantly changing structures.

    Directly or indirectly, as discussed above, these changes have generated and are generating profound changes in the content, methods and means of employment and production systems, distribution and labour organization.

    Here are some examples:

    • Companies looking for new skills associated with new organizations “decentralized network as” where “workers perform a variety of tasks, instead of passing the work of one another.”

    • The need for greater flexibility and reliability in production processes means that production is, also continue to seek such economies of scale, based of economies of scope and quality of products and services.

    Changes in work organizations have resulted in a perceptible change in the structure and content of employment and therefore a demand for larger and increasingly diverse skills resulting in a clear imbalance between supply and demand of professionals in the call information society.

    Since the beginning of the 90, as a first step to reduce this imbalance, have been progressively defined professional profiles and training curricula in terms of professional skills by taking a quantum leap in this process, and passed to take into account also attitudinal and emotional aspects of working not just those of a technical and methodological.

    But in addition to the powers specifically related to a job or a given sector, needs to acquire the so-called transferable skills, without being specific to a particular job or a particular profession, and therefore , transferable to a wide range of tasks performed in different work contexts are necessary to carry out different tasks at the level required for employment, with the dual aim of promoting the employability of students and to reduce the obsolescence of workers to proportion more likely to adapt.

    Rafael Barrio
    Technical of public administration
    Recognition of research proficiency
    Post graduate Business Administration
    Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Education

  7. It is great that there is a focus on jobs; however, there needs to be a focus on the skills necessary for job attainment. It is estimated that there will be 311,700 automotive technician jobs between 2010 and 2020 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). Further, doing a quick search on for automotive technicians, over 23,000 listings are available. The issue at hand is not job availability, it is the lack of skilled employees.

    Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, on the Internet at (visited August 06, 2012).

  8. It is very essential that the curriculam must give importance to skill development.Now children leaving the schools are very sceptical about their future plans,aptitude and employment opportunities.It is the responsibility of curriculam framers to give confidence to our future generations.

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