My Skills, My Independence: World Youth Skills Day 2019
Posted in News on July 15, 2019
Posted in News on July 15, 2019
Today, July 15, is World Youth Skills Day.
It presents an opportunity to raise awareness around investing in the potential of young people for their tomorrow. Today, around 65% of the world is of the global working-age, yet over 40% of the world’s young people are either unemployed or working in less skilled jobs. Young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, according to the International Labor Organization.
Education and training are key determinants of success within the labour market, yet social policy and existing systems are not able to properly support the needs of young people globally. For those in developing countries, the problem of employability is connected to failing schools and policy interventions that sustain insecure school-to-work transitions.
Can you remember the unforgettable day when you got that first job? Excited and nervous, you replied enthusiastically that you accepted the position. And when telling your loved ones about the wonderful news, you may have reflected on the key factors that brought you to this moment.
Like most people, you probably had many ideas of who you would be from a young age. You quickly learned that by the time you became working age, that it would not be easy and that it would take years of hard work and countless sacrifices to get to where you are today.
Despite whatever path you have taken in your career path, one thing is for certain: who you are today is an accumulation of your past experiences. Many young people are currently in the stage you were once in, trying to build up their job experience in complex and unpromising labour markets around the world.
Those that do have jobs are faced with multiple insecurities: many work long hours, are contracted for short-term or informal contracts. Others are under-employed or may earn less than the living wage. For young girls, these inequalities become wider, as they are more likely to be underemployed and under-paid, likely to work part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts than adolescent boys. Moreover, young people around the globe are left without social protections to help provide them with a safety net in case of emergencies.
Getting Skilled Up for the Future
Young people, especially adolescent girls, need to be adequately prepared, or skilled up, for their futures. That is why the Financial Education for Girls programme aims to help increase girls’ financial capabilities and awareness of their social and economic rights. Delivered in partnership between organisations Aflatoun International, Plan International and Room to Read, the programme is specifically tailored towards helping girls become more financial literate and be better prepared for their futures. Girls learn how to manage their personal finance, understand key aspects of saving and budgeting and are encouraged to explore different options when it comes to their careers and learn about labour market opportunities. In addition, participants are encouraged to grow in their confidence, learn about their rights, and how to advocate.
Read the stories of Lis and Aisha to see the impact of the programme
Lis, 17 years old, lives in the eastern rural area of Teresina located in Brazil. She takes part in the Financial Education for Girls programme with Plan International and Aflatoun International, where she has actively learned about her rights and about financial education. Lis uses the project’s courses to break out of her shyness, and to help her parent’s personal finances.
She is determined to become a Psychologist one day. Every morning, she wakes up at 5:40 am to head to her high school downtown. The one hurdle she has to overcome is getting a good score on the national exams. Passing the exam would be her ticket to being able to get into the local university. However in Brazil, where school budget cuts are prompting nationwide strikes, Lis’ hasn’t been able to properly attend classes as usual.
Despite her struggles, she remains clear on her path through what she has learned with FELS. She has become aware of how to properly spend her money by separating her desires from her needs. She knows that she needs school supplies and money for transportation to school. Because she now has to attend school at night, she knows that there is no available school bus to take her to downtown.
For Aisha, a 16 year old girl living in the Bagamoyo District of Tanzania, learning about financial education and life skills helped her believe in becoming an entrepreneur herself. Before the course, she did not know to save or budget. When she joined the Life Skills Club with Room to Read, she learned about important concepts in business, how to start financial or social enterprises, and how to get customers.
Participating in the programme presented a turning point in her ideas about her own future. One of the courses, “Get Inspired: Learn from Others”, helped her learn about her role models. It was just what Aisha needed to feel encouraged to start her own business.
After school, she began selling ground nuts. With her newfound knowledge, she understood what it meant to have profit and loss, and is now in the beginning stages of her business. She also teaches people in her community about financial education - one of whom was her own mother.
Through the stories of Lis and Aisha, we can learn so much about how young people of today are working towards a sustainable future. As each girl moves throughout her life, she knows she is now equipped with understanding her personal finances through financial literacy and the life skills needed to advocate for herself in different contexts.
Their stories are important to understanding our own, because we should not forget how we all started.
Read more about the Financial Education for Girls programme here.