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Skills For Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Developing Asia-Pacific : Call to Action by Youth

In the recent ADB International Skills Development Forum 2013, a strong youth contingent was invited for the first time to join deliberations. Over 40 youth with diverse backgrounds came from 10 countries. They enriched discussions by sharing their concerns and viewpoints on skills and jobs and what is required to ensure good jobs. When we challenged them to come up with what they could themselves undertake, the energetic and creative group of youth came up with the following. Well done!                             Shanti Jagannathan

We, the youth participants of the 3rd International Skills Development Forum gathered on 10th-12th December 2013 in Manila, Philippines,

strongly believe that the time has come for the international community to work together to make the world of decent work accessible to all, where every young person can avail equal opportunities.

Youth face clear and distinct issues that impede them from making informed career choices, reaching their full potential, and living a happy and successful life. In the Asia-Pacific region, 6 out of 10 young people have no jobs, are not in school, or are engaged in irregular employment. We, the youth of the region, struggle in an environment that has fostered skills mismatch, urban and rural divide, weak youth entrepreneurship, and unsecure jobs in both the formal and informal sector. If this continues, current and future generations will be confined to a poorer quality of life and remembered as the lost generation

We recognize the impact ICT has on revolutionizing opportunities for youth.

To reverse the current trends, youth must be educated, empowered, and engaged. We commit ourselves to:

  1. Develop and encourage extra-curricular activities and youth-inspired opportunities that enable youth to practice life skills and leadership;
  2. Participate and execute peer-to-peer mentorships for personal growth and career guidance;
  3. Organize youth-friendly job fairs, especially on green and ICT-based jobs;
  4. Patronize and promote youth-led enterprises;
  5. Organize and execute a youth-led dialogue that brings together youth, government and private sector to talk about issues on employment;
  6. Advocate and serve as a resource to the international institutions and labor ministries on the need for a public information dissemination campaign about decent work;

In addition to the specific actionable items that the youth will undertake, we call upon the following stakeholders to seriously consider the following recommendations:

  • We encourage greater and more meaningful collaboration between youth, relevant government ministries, and private sector.
  • We encourage greater collaboration between private sector and education institutions in curriculum-design and career-guidance.
  • We encourage greater emphasis on entrepreneurship in all levels of formal and non-formal education, and making youth-friendly financial resources accessible.
  • We encourage incentives for businesses that promote decent work opportunities for youth.
  • We urge the private sector to stand up and be the face of change in making digital literacy accessible to rural youth.
  • We encourage government and private agencies to include youth advisors in programs and policies that impact youth.

We applaud the Asian Development Bank and Plan International for their continued commitment to inclusive dialogue. We call upon the international community to intensify its commitment to deliver its promise of decent work and equitable opportunities for youth in the Asia-Pacific region.

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ICT and Skills Development: 12 Things to Know. Shanti Jagannathan

This fact sheet is prepared in the lead up to the ADB International Skills Development Forum. Shanti Jagannathan and Benjamin Vergel de Dios

1.      ICT is a foundation for a knowledge economy. Investments in ICT for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) will help to meet the demand for a skilled, “ICT-capable” labor force, which is the hallmark of a country transitioning to a knowledge economy.

Source: ADB Publication: Good Practice in ICT for Education

2.       An “app” to help the unemployed. Codetoki is a platform that matches employers and applicants through a gamified platform and addresses the Philippine’s challenge of high unemployment”. Codetoki is one of the winners of Apps for Asia, a joint initiative of ADB and Microsoft.

Source: ADB News: Apps for Asia Winners Featured at ADB Annual Meeting

3.      ICT for gender equity. Viet Nam is struggling to meet the demand for qualified specialized technical workers. Just 13% of the employable workforce has vocational qualifications. The ADB Skills Enhancement Project includes training ICT, hospitality and tourism where women are well represented.

Source: ADB News: ADB to Help Viet Nam Improve Technical Training to Meet Skill Shortages

4.      ICT skills as fuel for IT-BPO growth. Access to educated human resources at low cost, fiscal incentives, and the development of industrial parks have been key factors underlying the expansion of the IT-BPO export industry in the PRC, India, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Source: ADB Economics Working Paper Series: The Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing Industry: Diversity and Challenges in Asia

5.      Hunan leading online TVET programs in the PRC. Online TVET and e-learning provide an opportunity to reach out to remote and rural areas with high quality media and content and to improve course quality and delivery.

Source: ADB Project Document: Hunan Technical and Vocational Education and Training Demonstration Project

6.      ICT can help economies move beyond ‘Factory Asia’. Connectivity, both physical and human, can allow the Asian region take advantage of its expanding economic and social network, enhancing job opportunities and improving their welfare.

Source: ADB Blog: Moving beyond factory Asia: How to leverage regional dynamics to unlock growth potential

7.      A deaf person uses a mobile phone; a blind person browses a website. Through “assistive technologies”, TVET providers can facilitate job-skills training and even provide employment opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities.

Source: Connect a School, Connect a Community: A Public-Private Partnership

8.      Mobiles can connect disadvantaged women to skills training and gainful employment. The use of mobile phones and the organization of community ICT centers are making these possible and breaking gender barriers in many developing countries.

Source: Connect a School, Connect a Community: A Public-Private Partnership

9.      TeleTaleem Project in Pakistan offers web-based job searches and career counselling. ADB supported TeleTaleem (T2) is an eLearning service. In partnership with international training institutes (like City & Guild UK), T2 offers accredited training programs as well as links to jobsites and career counseling. T2 also connects junior trainers to master trainers located anywhere in Pakistan or abroad.

Source: ADB Project Document: TeleTaleem Project

10.    ICT eliminates geographical and language barriers to make relevant and quality content available. In Cambodia, a NGO aims to connect all public and private vocational training centers so that all of them can access the best available TVET resources (e.g. videos/lesson plans in local language) and assist TVET instructors (e.g. video-conferencing).

          Source: Connected Schools

11.    ICT skills increase success of youth entrepreneurs.  According to the evaluation of the HP LIFE program, ICT use is correlated with increased income for both entrepreneurs and employees.

Source: Youth Economic Opportunities

12.    TVET graduates need Digital Literacy and Digital Competency to increase their employability. There are four levels of Digital Proficiency: Digital awareness; Digital Literacy; Digital Competence; and Digital Expertise. Without digital literacy “individuals will find it difficult to carry out common tasks that arise in the workplace or society, and are at risk of exclusion”.  

Source: ECDL Foundation