What alternative to youth employability times of crisis? the case of the COVID-19 pandemic.

14 aout 2020 Webinar
Keywords : THE TRADE UNION BATTLE AGAINST COVID-19 Extending Social Protection Reports Youth Work - Organising And Workers Empowerment

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge we have faced since the Second World War. Although it has its origins in the health sphere, its economic impact will be felt for several years on the world economy and especially for young people.

Providing urgent and targeted responses to support young people is more necessary than ever. With the support of its partner CNV Internationaal, the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) organized a youth webinar under the theme: What alternative to youth employability times of crisis? the case of the COVID pandemic.

The webinar, held on 14 August, was attended by at least 50 people, including representatives of the youth committees of ITUC Africa affiliated trade union organisations, some trade union leaders and representatives of the CNV Internationalationaal.

The barrier measures imposed to counter the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic have led to a slowdown in global economic activity. Young people, who are a valuable resource for the economy, businesses and society, are nonetheless spared. The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the already worrying situation of young people in terms of employability. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than one in six young people have stopped working since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and those who have kept their jobs have seen their working hours decrease by 23 per cent.

According to ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, "The economic crisis caused by COVID-19 is hitting young people, especially women, harder and faster than other population groups. Without urgent and decisive action to improve their situation, we may have to shoulder the legacy of the virus for decades to come. If their talents and energy are sidelined due to the lack of employment and training opportunities, it is our common future that will suffer and it will be much more difficult to rebuild a better economy in the future. post COVID-19 period."

Between sharing experiences and explaining the consequences of the crisis by young trade unionists from Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Guinea and Zimbabwe, communications from ITUC-Africa experts and resource people, this webinar aimed to carry out reflections to highlight the real consequences of this crisis on the employability of young people and to provide credible alternative solutions to help young people to better resist the crisis and post-crisis consequences.

The recommendations offered in this webinar are mainly based on the following points:
 Actions to promote vocational training/education tailored to the current needs of the labour market.
 Industrialization policies to develop sectors that bring growth and employment.
 Career management policies based and inspired by International Labour Standards.
 Social protection for vulnerable strata, including young people, women and vulnerable people
 The training of companies created by young people,
 The definition of new unionization strategies inspired by the covid-19 context
 Training young people in connection with new information/digitalization technologies.
At the end of the discussions, the webinar highlighted the impact of the pandemic on the employability of young people and identified the issues and challenges that could pave the way for credible proposals for solutions for young people themselves, policy makers and employers.

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