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3 August 2015: Concurrent Session

Empowering Youth through Relevant Education and Training for Employment

Date: 3 August 2015

Time: 14:30 -16:30




  • To solicit youth perspectives on various issues related to their preparations for entering the labour market in Asia-Pacific;
  • To discuss various policies and programmes related to youth skills development and employment;
  • To identify strategies to link education and training to employment; and
  • To identify good practices in the implementation of youth education and training.


Key questions:

  • What are youth perspectives on various issues related to their preparation for entering the labour market in the Asia-Pacific region?
  • What are the policies and programmes currently in place related to youth skills development and employment?
  • What are the strategies to link education and training to employment for youth?
  • What are the good practices in the implementation of youth education and training?
  • What are the key features of a curriculum that integrates foundation skills, transferable skills, and technical and vocational skills? How can it be successfully developed and implemented?



  • Ms. Robyn Jackson, UNESCO Yangon



  • Mr. Nicholas Robinson,  Vocational Training Charitable Trust VTCT, UK
  • Mr. Uhilamoelangi Fasi , Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Fiji
  • Y. Bhg. Dato’ Amir Mohd Noor,  Community Colleges Department, Ministry of Education, Malaysia
  • Mr. Haji Muhammad Yashreen bin Hj. Sehia, Wasan Vocational School, Brunei




Many leaders say that their country’s future lies in the hands of its youth. Youth can become engines of growth if countries can provide them with adequate education and training, as well as work opportunities. Worldwide, however, many youth are not being adequately prepared and have insufficient job opportunities. In addition, unequal access to education limits their future prospects. In the Asia and Pacific region, which makes up over 60 percent (4.3 billion) of the world’s population (7.1 billion), 17.44 percent (750 million) were young people in 2012 (UN, 2013). Despite a comparably high participation rate of youth in the labour market (49 percent in 2013), there has been a sharp decline from the 56.8 percent noted in 2000. In 2013, the average youth unemployment rate was 11.1 percent while that of adults was 2.8 percent. This means that youth are almost four times more likely to be unemployed compared to adults in the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, youth are more likely than adults to be engaged in unstable jobs and earn less than two dollars a day (ILO, 2015).

This may seem surprising given that youth today have higher levels of formal education than the older generations (ILO, 2008). In addition, youth are more likely to bring such characteristics as enthusiasm, talent and creativity to the workplace. Nevertheless, many youth stay unemployed because education and training often fail to equip them with foundation skills, as well as because of mismatches between available skills and industry needs (ILO, 2008). Many youth have insufficient foundation skills which should be acquired prior to entering vocational and technical education and training, including literacy and numeracy. “These skills are not only crucial in themselves but are also needed to build other skills in demand in the workplace, such as communication skills, problem-solving and critical thinking” (UNESCO, 2012).

Investment in skills training for youth should be given greater attention given that it is positively correlated with progress in equitable development (UNESCO, 2012). Such investment could also help to protect countries from the impact of economic downturns and lift large numbers of people out of poverty. Making sure that education contributes to economic growth is not limited to increased enrolment but is equally related to ensuring that skills required for the workplace are equitably distributed (UNESCO, 2012).

Concerted effort to continuously improve the access and quality of education and training for youth must be taken in order to optimize contributions of youth to national economic development. Based on these considerations, this concurrent session is dedicated to exploring various issues surrounding skills development and employment opportunities for youth, particularly in terms of policy and practice.


International Labour Organisation. 2015. Comparative Analysis of Policies for Youth Employment in Asia and the Pacific. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Organisation.

International Labour Office (ILO). 2008. Global Employment Trends for Youth-October 2008.

UNESCO. 2012. EFA Global Monitoring Report on Youth and Skills:  Putting Education to Work. Paris: UNESCO Publishing.

United Nations. 2013. Millennium Indicators Database.