Message at the YouthCan! launch: Bridging the gap from education to employment

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the YouthCan! launch: Bridging the gap from education to employment, 12 August 2021, Manila, Philippines via Zoom

Statement | Manila, Philippines via Zoom | 12 August 2021
  • Officials of SOS Children’s Villages;
  • Partners from the Government led by the Department of Labor and Employment, employers, chambers of commerce, private sector and civil society;
  • Youth leaders,
  • Distinguished guests;
  • Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon sa inyong lahat (good afternoon to all of you)!
Happy International Youth Day! It is an honour to join you for the launch of the YouthCan!

On this Youth Day, we recognize all the efforts and voices of the youth towards decent work and a better future.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the –Asian Development Bank (ADB) issued a joint report on "Tackling the COVID-19 youth employment crisis in Asia and the Pacific".

The report highlighted that the youth were already in vulnerable situation, even before COVID-19.

Young people are more likely to be unemployed than adults with youth unemployment rates unable to recover to pre-crisis levels.

One out of five young people were not in employment, education, or training, the so-called NEET. These are unemployed youth actively seeking employment; and those inactive because most are discouraged by lack of jobs and economic opportunities or have given up on the job search.

Gender inequalities and disparities persist that limit youth’s access to education and employment. The impact on young women is even greater.

The COVID-19 pandemic is hurting young people more, with threats to create a “lockdown generation” that will feel the weight of this crisis for a long time.

This is characterized by job disruptions, reduced working hours, reduced earnings and job losses; disruptions in education and training; and difficulties in transitioning from school to work and moving between jobs in a recession.

The COVID-19 is further inflicting multiple shocks, leaving scars that could last for years.

The ILO Youth and COVID-19 report revealed the pandemic not only destroys jobs and employment prospects, and disrupts education and training.

It also creates serious impact on mental health of youth. Our survey found that 50 per cent of youth are possibly subject to anxiety or depression.

Urgent and a human-centred approach based on the ILO’s Global Call to Action is needed to address challenges, create new opportunities, and for young people to become the driving force of a new society.

The ILO calls for broader, stronger support to the economy and labour market, along with measures targeting the most vulnerable youth in the transition from school to work.

Youth employment is reflected in the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines. Globally, decent work is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, in Goal 8 and in other goals.

Unless decent work is at the heart of policies, the youth employment challenge will remain as it is.

We need to protect a whole generation of young people from all these multiple shocks and scars. The youth will not only suffer but it will also damage our future if we do not act immediately.

It is critical that programmes and policies adopt a comprehensive, rights-based approach to the issues of young people, especially related to decent work.

Programmes and partnerships such as the Youth Can! truly contributes in tackling youth employment and addressing the needs of young people.

The success of youth matters in building a brighter and better future of work. As we believe that the youth can, so we must support and invest in their future, leaving no one behind.

Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!