UNESCO-UNEVOC Theme: Youth and Skills
Youth unemployment is one of the greatest challenges faced by many countries around the world today: Young people are on average three times more likely to be unemployed than older adults. We believe that TVET has a key role to play in tackling youth unemployment as it is oriented towards the world of work and the acquisition of employability skills.
Across the world in the last decade youth unemployment rates have increased. One of the main reasons for high youth unemployment globally is a growing mismatch between the supply and demand for skills, which is disproportionately affecting young people, particularly in developing countries. This skills mismatch can take different forms: some countries for example may experience an excess supply of skilled workers with a shortage of skilled jobs; in others young people may simply lack the basic skills, e.g. literacy and numeracy skills, which would enable them to find jobs or start their own business. Since young people comprise a large and growing proportion of the world’s working-age population, their employment prospects affect future economic growth. And of course, prolonged unemployment can have a devastating effect on young people’s economic and personal welfare and self-esteem.
UNESCO-UNEVOC believes that TVET has a key role to play in tackling youth unemployment. TVET’s orientation towards the world of work and the acquisition of employable skills means that it is well placed to overcome the skills mismatches that have impeded smooth education to employment transitions for many young people.
The topic of youth and skills was selected by Members of the UNEVOC Network as a priority theme in 2012. In the broader theme of skills for young people, UNESCO-UNEVOC’s work has focused in particular on school-to-work transition and entrepreneurship education. UNESCO Strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) 2016-2021 continued to focus on Youth and skills as a priority.
The UNESCO Strategy aims to: support the efforts of Member States to enhance the relevance of their TVET systems and to equip all youth and adults with the skills required for employment, decent work, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning, and contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a whole.
The Strategy has three priority areas:
- Fostering youth employment and entrepreneurship;
- Promoting equity and gender equality;
- Facilitating the transition to green economies and sustainable societies.
Bow Valley College: Fostering Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship
Bow Valley College's expertise in youth entrepreneurship aligns with UNESCO's Strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) 2016-2021. Bow Valley College's focus area as a UNEVOC Centre will be on "Fostering Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship".
Bow Valley College continue to provide support to youth's employment and entrepreneurship through several programs and projects.
The Hon. Kent Hehr, minister of Veterans Affairs, came to Bow Valley College on July 20, 2016, to announce funding for two new programs aimed at connecting young Canadians to better job opportunities and pathways to good careers.
"The skills these young people will learn will help get them ready for their future careers, save for their education, and help strengthen the middle class, all at the same time. This investment is part of our government's commitment to help the middle class and those trying to join it," said Hehr.
Through Connections to the Workplace, recent post-secondary graduates will be matched to an employer in a suitable industry to facilitate a twelve-week work placement. The aim is to have participants successfully transition into full-time work, or they may choose to return to learning with a greater awareness of their workplace skills and potential. Participants are supported during their work placement to promote their success, and ensure that they earn a fair wage.
The Skills Connection program targets support for youth that have experienced a barrier to taking part in the labour force. Participants are provided with six weeks of employability skills and employment preparation, including career exploration and essential skills training. Again, participants are matched to employers where there is a possibility of full-time employment at the end of the work placement. Participants are also supported through the work placement to ensure their persistence and success.
"Bow Valley College is proud to offer these new programs aimed at helping young Canadians find better job opportunities. We look forward to helping Connections to the Workplace and Skills Connection program participants enhance their skills and potential, and set them on their path to career success," noted Sharon Carry, Bow Valley College President and CEO. Both programs will be offered through Bow Valley College and industry partners.
Bow Valley College collaborates with other Colleges, government agencies and non-profit organizations, such as:
- Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
- Province of Alberta.
- Alberta Council for Global Cooperation.
- UNEVOC Network.
- Campus Alberta.
- Calgary Library Collaboration.
- Calgary Urban Network.
- Alberta Association in Higher Education Information Technology.
Bow Valley College Champions Youth Entrepreneurship
For many years Bow Valley College has been helping youth with the skills required to access the world of work. Bow Valley College has been promoting the development of entrepreneurial skills, through strategies such as incorporating courses in entrepreneurship into formal curricula and certification and supporting small businesses in providing workplace training.
In 2010 Bow Valley College was named the Canadian Youth Business Foundation's (CYBF) Outstanding Alberta Community Partner for 2010.
The award recognized the College's assistance in identifying and recruiting a CYBF committee of business leaders that provides consultation, advice, and approval for entrepreneurs' business plans and funding applications. The award was given to Bow Valley College for its commitment to supporting youth in their professional growth. "The organization [BVC] champions youth entrepreneurship in everything that they do and continually provides exceptional support and resources to the young entrepreneurs in their community," said Vivian Prokop, CEO of CYBF.
Bow Valley College is constantly creating new programs and projects to support youth and provide them with the skills required to help them enter the workforce. Check the programs here: Youth and Skills Programs