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Rising Sun | 17 July 2023

According to a report from the Education Commission and UNICEF, published to coincide with World Youth Skills Day, it is estimated that only around 25 percent of the world’s youth are on track to learn the skills they need to get a job- either through education, employment or training.

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 15 as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, appropriate work and entrepreneurship.

This year, the theme for World Youth Skills Day is skilling teachers, trainers and youth for a transformative future, highlighting the essential role that educators play in providing skills for youth to move into the labour market and actively engage in their communities and societies.

According to a report from the Education Commission and UNICEF, published to coincide with World Youth Skills Day, it is estimated that only around 25 percent of the world’s youth are on track to learn the skills they need to get a job- either through education, employment or training.

This is certainly something the IIE School of Hospitality and Service Management has been hard at work developing by incorporating themes, such as cultural thinking, problem-solving and financial literacy into their teachings.

Courses such as their advanced certificate in hospitality management help students acquire skills set to interpret challenges in the various hospitality departments, deliver services efficiently and effectively, solve problems and exploit opportunities to improve services. Students also get to understand the legal requirements that have an impact on business and basic accounting principles.

Etresia Booysen, a senior lecturer at the IIE School of Hospitality and Service Management’s Rosebank campus, said, “Combining academics with practical experience is highly important to prepare students for the labour market in the hospitality industry. While academic knowledge provides a strong foundation of theoretical concepts and principles, practical experience offers invaluable insights into real-world scenarios, skills development, and industry-specific challenges.”

Booysen said that their approach to student preparation goes beyond theoretical classes by incorporating practical demonstrations and hands-on experiences.

“As the flagship campus, we host a variety of events on-site, during which time the students actively participate and contribute to the operations, allowing them to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios. This practical exposure not only enhances their understanding of the industry but also hones their interpersonal skills, particularly in areas such as communication and teamwork. Moreover, these events serve as networking platforms for our students and, by working alongside industry professionals and engaging with event attendees, our students have the chance to establish valuable connections and build relationships with potential employers and industry partners. It is not uncommon for our students to receive job offers or internship opportunities during these events, illustrating the practical relevance and industry recognition of our programme,” Booysen continued.

Third-year student Daniël de Bruin, who last year completed an internship at JAN, the Michelin-star, Nice-based restaurant of Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, said, “Practical learning during studies is crucial for the development of skills and abilities. It is so important that students gain practical experience before entering the industry, and this should be done during class with a lecturer as a facilitator. Practical experience is the foundation that needs to be set before learning any other theory and students need to feel free to make mistakes with the people they know and are comfortable with. To fail is the best way to learn! My success, and the success of all the other third-year students would not have been possible without practical skills development in our first year.”

Here are nine key facts about the youth skills gap:

  • By 2030, there will be 78 million more young people, with nearly 40 million of them in low-income countries and requiring education and training.

  • According to the World Skills Clock, a partnership between UNICEF, the Education Commission, World Data Lab, and Generation Unlimited, which counts up in real-time, there are currently over 737 million youth without secondary education-level skills.

  • Youth employment fell by 39 million in 2020 while 24 million young people are still at risk of not returning to school.

  • Young people lost jobs faster than other age groups in the first few months of the pandemic, because they were over-represented in the worst-hit sectors or had temporary or fixed-term contracts.

  • Over 30 percent of young women worldwide are not in employment, education, or training, while for young men- it’s 13 percent.

  • More than 86 percent of apprenticeships were halted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Around 600 million jobs need to be created over the next 15 years to meet youth employment needs.

  • According to a recent survey, 50 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds believe there will be no traditional employment in the future and instead, they will promote their own personal brands and sell skills on a short-term basis to those who need them

  • The proportion of the world’s youth without digital skills sits at 63 percent.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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