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18 July 2023

Watch videos from WorldSkills and UNESCO-UNEVOC event to celebrate World Youth Skills Day

The event on 14 July in Germany included WorldSkills Champions giving their perspectives and expectations for VET systems that can support youth transition from school into the world of work.

To celebrate World Youth Skills Day (15 July) WorldSkills and UNESCO-UNEVOC co-organized an event packed with insights and knowledge from youth on how to better prepare young people for the future of work.

The hybrid event, hosted in collaboration with WorldSkills Germany, took place on 14 July in Bonn, Germany and online. It brought together former WorldSkills Champions and apprentices, alongside policymakers and diverse stakeholders within the skills landscape in Germany and beyond.

The opening remarks were delivered by:

  • Friedrich Huebler, Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC,
  • Laurence Gates, Board member – Strategic Development, WorldSkills, and
  • Heike Kuhn, Head of Division for Education, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

As she expressed her excitement to hear directly from the incredible skilled youth in the different panels, Laurence Gates, said it was their perspective, ideas, and challenging questions that should be heard on World Youth Skills Day, and every day.

“We are all committed to helping you develop the skills you need for tomorrow, because our world is becoming more turbulent and uncertain. Change will only happen when educators, industries, and policymakers work together to redesign our VET systems for sustainable human and economic development,” said Laurence Gates.

The first discussion included Aswatha Narayana Sanagavarapu, gold Medalist from WorldSkills Kazan 2019, taking part in a youth focus group on improving teaching and learning processes. With the added insights of a recent UNESCO-UNEVOC youth survey, the panel aimed at amplifying youth priorities and expectations for the future of skills development.

Aswatha, who competed in Water Technology, said that his WorldSkills journey was transformational for him.

“When it comes to my experience as an engineering graduate, I saw that most often the knowledge is limited to the theoretical aspects, and it lacks the practical approach of the real world. Hence, I strongly believe competitions and apprenticeships can do a lot in bridging the gap of knowledge and skills,” he said.

The focus group was followed by a panel around the theme for this year’s World Youth Skills Day – Skilling teachers, trainers and youth for a transformative future. WorldSkills Champions Trust representative, Sonya Hill joined from Jamaica to share her experience of transitioning from school to work.

“Regardless of having and engineering degree and having competed at WorldSkills, there were skill gaps that hindered my performance in the work environment. I was provided by a solid theoretical foundation, but I got no exposure to practical experience and technologies used within industry, which made it very challenging for me to quickly adapt and effectively apply my knowledge,” said Sonya.

She added that to better support youth, TVET institutions should frequently update their curricula, and machinery to match that of industry. Partnerships can provide opportunities for students to develop more practical skills while they are still in school to accelerate their readiness for the labour market.

As part of our World Youth Skills Day celebrations, UNESCO-UNEVOC and WorldSkills asked young people to speak up about how teachers can better equip them for the future of work, and how decision-makers can help them in employment, skills development and entrepreneurship. The result is a motivational video – WSYD Youth Voices 2023.

As UNESCO’s designated centre for technical and vocational education and training (TVET), UNESCO-UNEVOC supports Member States in their efforts to strengthen and upgrade their TVET systems and ensures access to quality skills training and development for all. UNESCO-UNEVOC is a partner of the WorldSkills Conference Coalition, and a long-term partner of WorldSkills.