Young people address challenges and explore opportunities of transition from learning to employment in the Middle East and North Africa/Arab States region
“While children and young people make up almost half of the population, the Middle East and North Africa/ Arab States Region is home to the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world. Current education systems and curricula do not match the evolving labour market and the changing nature of work. "
The Regional High-Level Meeting on Young People’s Learning, Skilling and Transition to Decent Work is co-organized by the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Children’s Fund under the UN Arab States Issue-Based Coalition for Adolescents and Youth. The transition from learning to work is a key priority for adolescents and young people across the region. The meeting brings together Government Officials from key sectors, private sector and UN in dialogue with young people themselves to enable an exchange of good practices, and to converge towards a shared vision to support young people’s transition from learning to decent work. It will provide recommendations from the Arab States / Middle East and North Africa Region to the upcoming UN Secretary General’s Global Summit on Transforming Education in September 2022.
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The meaningful engagement and participation of young people in the conceptualization, design, preparation, delivery, and follow-up to the High-Level Meeting was identified as a key determinant of success for this event. Young people across the region were engaged in a Youth Advisory Board and led several thematic roundtables to identify key bottlenecks and develop recommendations. Young people were also engaged at the national level working with their delegations to develop the commitments for their country. This session is led by members of the Youth Advisory Group to share their journey and summarize their key recommendations to frame and guide the thematic discussions over the course of the next two days.
23 May - 13.30-15.00 | Parallel Thematic session 1.1 “Young People develop the Market-Relevant Skills for Work and Life, with focus on the most vulnerable”
Education and training systems across the region are often constrained by outdated pedagogy, learning techniques and examination practices, and are not aligned with contemporary realities and labour market requirements. Traditional teacher-centred and knowledge-based approaches are failing to develop the skills that are essential for lifelong learning, employability/decent work, personal empowerment and active citizenship. This session aims at identifying measures to address the bottlenecks hindering young people, especially the most vulnerable, to acquire market-relevant skills for work and life.
23 May - 13.30-15.00 | Parallel Thematic session 1.2 "Future of work: realizing young people’s full potential"
The future of work (FoW) is being shaped by four main megatrends: globalization, technology, demography, and climate change. Each of these trends brings about new opportunities for the region’s labour markets but also new challenges in terms of the new and emerging modes of work. This session aims to identify the sectors and jobs that are most promising for FoW in the region. Furthermore, it will highlight existing promising practices, and recommend measures to make skills and lifelong learning activities, as well as social protection policies and labour regulations, responsive to these global drivers of change, take full advantage of demographic changes and dividends, ensuring inclusive prosperity.
23 May - 15.30-17.00 | Parallel Thematic session 2.1 Young People are connected with Multiple Pathways of Learning, with focus on those left furthest behind
Education and training systems across the region aggravate inequalities, with almost 1/5 of young people dropping out of school before finalizing lower-secondary education, and even more than 1/3 of young people leaving formal schooling before graduating upper-secondary education. Ensuring continuity of learning and preparation for life and work, calls for open and flexible education systems promoting multiple gender-sensitive pathways of learning. This session aims at identifying measures to address the bottlenecks hindering the provision of multiple pathways of learning for young people, especially relevant and effective to reach the most vulnerable and promote gender equality.
23 May - 15.30-17.00 | Parallel Thematic session 2.2 Young women and men leading social enterprises to address developmental challenges
The session addresses the role of social entrepreneurship for youth and their societies. Issues such as access to finance, lack of skills, access to market and legislative/administrative barriers are critical challenges for youth, especially women, to create social impact and start their social enterprises. The session brings together relevant actors from government/policymakers, private sector, civil society organizations and social entrepreneurs to discuss the opportunities and challenges of social entrepreneurship development, especially for young women and vulnerable young people.
This session is designed to profile and inspire public-private-youth partnerships which support responding to and addressing key bottlenecks in the transition of young people in MENA from Learning to Earning. This session will inspire the audience to seek partnership approaches with UN agencies, national governments, private sector, civil society and youth which address bottlenecks hampering the youth transition from learning to earning.
24 May 11.00-12.30 | Parallel Thematic session 3.1: Connecting young women and men with decent jobs: Building systems and improving practices
Youth across the region have been struggling with difficult and delayed transitions from learning to decent work for many decades, with young people three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, with young women 40% more likely not to be in employment, education or training. Their search for decent work often lasts years, giving rise to persistently high rates of joblessness and unemployment. Ensuring young people’s smooth transition into decent employment calls for targeted employment services helping young jobseekers find a job faster, and often with better quality, while at the same time guiding them towards further education or skills training. This session aims at identifying effective approaches and promising practices that connect young people, particularly young women and the most vulnerable, with decent jobs and support lifelong learning.
24 May - 11.00-12.30 | Parallel Thematic session 3.2 Entrepreneurship as a Livelihood for young people
Driven by increasing awareness of the need to address fragile livelihoods against a changing environment, and the potential capacity of entrepreneurship in reducing unemployment, countries across the region have paid increasing attention to skilling youth, better engaging the private sector; building entrepreneurial and life skills; accommodating technological developments; and better alignment with market needs. This session aims to share positive experiences in the field, from policymakers, CSOs, and the business community, in developing the appropriate learning environment and utilizing relevant learning methods to promote equal opportunities for young women and men for entrepreneurship and provide the tools for youth to develop sustainable businesses.
The session will focus on the challenges of some of the most vulnerable young people and familiarize delegates with the challenges of those furthest behind through young people’s personal stories. It will show the creativity and ingenuity young people have employed to overcome their challenges.
A session dedicated to discussing the specific challenges that young refugees face in the transition from learning to earning, as well as some of the responses and solutions that have been put in place, specifically based on the experiences from the No Lost Generation (NLG) and PROSPECTS initiatives. After a short introduction, the core of the session will be handled by a small group of young refugees and IDPs, who will share their experiences, the challenges they face and identify potential solutions in this transition.
Volunteerism plays a fundamental role in promoting peace and development and the value-based work of more than 800 million people volunteering worldwide paves the way for more equal and inclusive societies as well as for positive social impact across any number of sectors – from child protection to climate resilience to pandemic response. For young people, it is especially volunteerism’s potential to facilitate their transition into various forms of employment in both formal and informal sectors, that is of particularly high importance to them. In line with the broader theme of young people’s transition from education to employment, this session, therefore, focuses on the crucial role volunteerism plays in that process.
The objective of this session is to bring participants into a reflection on how to break the gender barriers for females transition from learning to earning. In doing so, the session will bring attention to key issues regarding female transition into the workforce, but these structural inequalities will be discussed with a solution-oriented mindset, focusing on positive innovative ways moving forward. By engaging government representatives, private sector and female youth in a panel discussion, the session aims to bring key stakeholders and the audience together to both inspire and agree on steadfast commitments to enable female transition from learning to earning. The session will bring out questions concerning gender stereotypes and biases, policies, and enabling factors as well as to show that the only way forward for a more sustainable world is to ensure young women are a part of the future labour force.
The shift to a green economy is increasing the pace of change in labour markets and skills needs. Economies moving towards greener production can seize the potential for job creation if they deal effectively with the coming structural change and transformation of existing jobs. While few new occupations emerge in the transition to greener work, massive change occurs in existing occupations. Successful transitions from old to new, greener industries and occupations will require efficient retraining and skills upgrading. A key element of the transformation must be to target training initiatives to segments of the population typically at a disadvantage in the labour market. Skills development is critical to unlocking the employment potential of green growth.