Nearly 40 per cent of young people on the move globally identify education and training as top priorities, according to new UNICEF poll

67 per cent of young people in Iraq would like to contribute and share their voices in the community through social media, meeting local authorities and through youth groups, according to U-Report Iraq.

18 July 2021

Download the Talent on the Move report here

BAGHDAD, 18 July 2021 – Nearly 40 per cent of migrant and displaced youth identified education and skills training as their top priorities, while 30 per cent named employment opportunities. Approximately 70 per cent of those surveyed also said limited financial resources prevent them from accessing learning opportunities, while almost 40 per cent reported a lack of available jobs as their biggest barrier to earning an income. 

These findings were revealed through a U-Report poll of more than 26,000 people, including almost 9,000 young people (aged 14-24), across 119 countries, including Iraq. The poll, conducted between 6 May and 1 June 2021, asked respondents about their aspirations to learn and earn, and the unique barriers they face – as a girl or as a refugee, trying to access the labour market with or without legal status. Insights from the poll along with stories from migrant and displaced youth themselves are included in the newly released ‘Talent on the Move’ report from UNICEF.

The poll also found that the majority of youth on the move want to learn professional skills (e.g. law, administration, business, education), followed by languages and tech skills. Almost 90 per cent globally reported feeling that they can contribute their opinions, skills and talents in their community. In Iraq, 67 per cent of young people reported that they would like to contribute and share their voices in their communities through social media, meeting local authorities and through youth groups.

Iraq contributed with the highest participation and engagement worldwide in the poll. UNICEF’s work with young people in Iraq has given girls and boys in displaced and host communities an important channel to voice their opinions and air their voices, both through U-Report and other youth-led initiatives, such as the recently launched Young People’s Advisory Group. Young Iraqis, especially the most vulnerable who remain socially excluded and served by UNICEF’s partners across Iraq, continue to call for equitable skilling and decent work opportunities. So far in 2021, UNICEF has reached nearly 4,000 young people with critical life skills, entrepreneurship and digital skills opportunities.

“Children and young people on the move are telling the world that they have big dreams and aspirations for their lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Yet many are prevented from securing opportunities for learning or employment because of their migration status or lack of financial resources and support systems. It is time for the international community to help them achieve their dreams and ambitions, and unlock new openings for them to learn, earn and thrive.” 

As part of the global report, UNICEF urges governments and policymakers to adopt specific recommendations which include: 

  1. Recognize young people on the move as positive assets and rights-holders.
  2. Build more relevant, sustainable and effective education and work systems for young people on the move that recognize their rights and agency.  
  3. Ensure that education systems respond to changing job markets and demand, providing young people on the move with the key employability skills such as soft skills, critical thinking and adaptability.  
  4. Create and connect youth on the move with employment and livelihood opportunities – both online and off – and foster their talents to address local market challenges and fill talent gaps. 
  5. Involve young people on the move at all levels in decision making processes that will affect their lives. 
  6. Partner with youth on the move to build a better more resilient world for all generations – and leverage their talents to cocreate solutions.
  7. Invest in youth on the move – in their capacity-building and participation.   

There are currently 281 million international migrants. One in five is a young person and 36 million are children. Worldwide, more than 4 out of 10 forcibly displaced persons are younger than 18, with 33 million children living in forced displacement either within their own country or abroad. Each day of 2020, an additional 26,000 children were displaced by climate-induced disasters alone.

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Miguel Mateos Munoz
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Tel: +964 7827820238


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