As we approach World Youth Skills Day 2023 on July 15, the strategic importance of equipping young people with the skills they need for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship is crucial. This year’s theme, “Skilling Teachers, Trainers, and Youth for a Transformative Future,” underscores the vital role played by educators in providing young people with the necessary skills to enter the labor market and actively engage in their communities.
Reflecting the hurdles that youth and businesses are grappling with, recent statistics from the International Labour Organization reveal concerning figures. For example, a quarter of the global youth population is not in education, employment, or training, and a staggering 935 million workers worldwide have jobs that do not match their educational level. Furthermore, employers are struggling to find workers with the necessary skill set for the job.
World Youth Skills Day serves as a reminder of the current challenges faced by youth globally and shines a spotlight on actionable steps to create better livelihoods and improve skills alignment for employers. As technological advancements and shifting market dynamics demand agile and adaptable skill sets, it is imperative to empower young people to navigate these changes effectively.
To add another layer, it is vital to highlight that corporations, businesses, and non-profit organizations also have a crucial role in building future skills and creating employment opportunities.
In recognizing this, SAP has partnered with UNICEF to support Generation Unlimited (GenU) on two initiatives. The first is the GenU signature program, Youth Agency Marketplace (YOMA), which aims to reach more than 500,000 young people with opportunities for foundational and digital skills.
The second initiative is the pilot of the SAP Educate to Employ program, which will enable more than 100 young people with the essential skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values required to drive employment, innovation, and entrepreneurship — helping to ensure equal opportunities for all.
Already initiated in the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, SAP Educate to Employ is built on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Learning Framework 2030, which enables young people to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the demands of the present and future workforce.
Micro-credential programs form a vital component of the initiative, focusing on socio-emotional skills like emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and critical thinking. These programs are accessible to young individuals with a high school education, vocational training, or a university degree. The curriculum also encompasses employability skills, technology in the workplace, business foundation knowledge, SAP foundational knowledge, and SAP skills certification.
Upon achieving their SAP certification, participants will have opportunities to secure various IT internship roles in departments such as consulting, development, analysis, and support within the SAP ecosystem. Recognizing that some information and communications technology (ICT) roles may face displacement in the next three to five years, the program emphasizes continuous learning and growth to support sustainable employment.
Through SAP Educate to Employ, SAP is committed to providing equitable education and job opportunities for underrepresented individuals, including minorities from diverse ethnic backgrounds, women, differently abled individuals, the underprivileged, and the disadvantaged.
By participating in programs like SAP Educate to Employ, businesses gain access to certified and diversified talent while uplifting their livelihoods. Additionally, they can help bridge the demand and supply gap for SAP skills and accelerate digital transformation within their respective countries through a digitally skilled workforce.
On World Youth Skills Day 2023, it is crucial to acknowledge the immense potential of young people as catalysts for positive change. By making a firm commitment to equipping them with the essential skills, values, knowledge, and attitudes, we can work together to shape a brighter future, leaving no young person behind. After all, skills and education can help society overcome any difficult situation.
Eugene Ho is global CSR director for Future Skills at SAP.