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Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

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Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by arun kumar at December 01. 2009

Dear All,

We are now in the last few days of this online discussion - I hope this last conversation would generate some ideas on promoting decent work for youth.

First of all I would like to get your feedback on – what is ‘decent work’?  what do you understand by this term?

Then secondly, lets put the youth employment in some context. Where are most youth employed today? – if we consider only wage employment (and thereby not considering the self employed youth for the moment), to me it seems that majority of the youth are employed in –either services sectors or small and medium enterprises – in both of these areas implementing labour standards seem to be relatively hard – majority of activities in these two areas fall under informal economy (atleast in so far as the employment is concerned, although most of these enterprises are regulated by govt from tax point of view). So, the question is – how can we improve the conditions of work in small and medium enterprises either manufacturing or in services sector?

Some ideas:

One of the ways to initiate this process would be (I think)is - improving the operating environment for these enterprises – from the point of view of – access to credit, simplifying regulatory procedures (both tax and labour matters) but at the same time establishing clear minimum standards for employment (such as minimum wages,  social security contributions and workers right of association and collective bargaining) – in fact access to credit could be linked to the respect for these minimum labour standards – that is, if small and medium entrepreneurs expect  bank loans, then they also have to show compliance with national labour laws – atleast this would create an environment where there is both an incentive as well as pressure for compliance with minimum wages and other basic labour rights of workers. 

What other ideas can you suggest to promote compliance with national labour laws (which presumably should help in workers getting some decent working condition) ?

What do you folks think?

Another area to look into is - the world will be focusing lot of attention in coming years on addressing climate change challenges which means growth of certain kind of industry, services and businesses – The issue is - are we preparing our young people to have the necessary skills for green economy? Secondly, are we ensuring that these jobs are not just green but also decent? Or are we just going to make the transition towards greener economy but under same exploitative working relations?  Both the current global economic crisis and the climate change challenge is an opportunity to rethink and re-establish rules of the employment – what is the floor that every country must respect in the field of employment conditions?

Another issue to consider: many countries are facing aging population & declining birth rate, while  some countries are looking at reaping the demographic dividend of having a young workforce for considerably long time. Both these sets of countries need to look at the following issues:

1.       Aging societies – why are birth rates going down so much? If we look at the labour market conditions (precarious employment, especially for young men and women) , is it a surprise that young people do not want to settle down and have family? Insecure, low paid macjobs also means that young people can never think of having their own houses (because they cannot be sure if they can pay the mortgage) . Job insecurity prevents most young people from marrying and having children.  I am not saying this is the only reason but surely these factors do influence reproductive behavior. Policy makers need to think about making the job market more family friendly – if the idea is to counter the aging society development.

 

2.       And what about countries with younger workforce now and in future? These are mostly developing countries which pride themselves in ‘cheap labour’ comparative advantage and  overtly and covertly do everything to ensure that workers pay and rights remain at the minimum. Now, what kind of future can this kind of workforce give to their children? If they cannot afford to feed their children well, to educate their children well, what kind of young workforce are these countries going to have in future? Ill-fed, undernourished and ill-educated, unskilled low productive workforce – is this the youth dividend that these countries want?  Certainly not. It is in the interest the future progress that the working conditions and terms of work need to be improved today – in other words promoting and ensuring Decent work for todays workforce gives the best possible chance for countries to develop and continue to develop in future – this is what one would call sustainable development.

 

This is the last week of this online conference – I hope some of you respond with your suggestions for promoting decent work for young people.

Best wishes

arun

 

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by David Braun at December 02. 2009

Hi all - my name is David Braun.  I work as an research officer in the ILO AP regional office.  Thanks for the great contributions so far.  (And, Arun, you're doing a great job as moderator.)

I thought I might air a slightly controversial idea, which I recently discussed with some colleagues in India.  Could lowering the age at which young people can sign contracts, drive a car, obtain trade licenses, etc, be a way of promoting decent work for young people, particularly for those not in school?

For young people not in school, there is often a gap between the age at which they can start work - 15 or 14 in many countries - and the age at which they are considered able to sign contracts, drive a car, or or obtain a skills licence - which is often 18.  Being able to drive a car, for example, can play a role in finding decent work.  From discussion with colleageus, the consequence for many young people not in school is that skills or entrepreneurship training is not able to be effectively used.  If looking to start a business, young people under 18 are unable to access many finance opportunities.  In terms of wage employment, employers often express a strong preference for people who are already 18.  At least one ILO youth training project in India aimed at out-of-school youth only took on students who were already 18, or would be by the end of the 6-month training.  The gap between the working age and the age of majority leaves some young people in a decent work limbo.

ObviousIy, there are reasons why those age limits exist.  The limits have to set to restrict access to certain activities which are considered to require a reasonably level of maturity or responsibility.  Young people may need to be protected from, for example, the provisions of unfair contracts.  But to what extent are those age restrictions only set by tradition?  Is there scope to give different responsibilities to young people in different circumstances?  Perhaps a piecemeal approach would be appropriate - is there any scope, for example, to change only some of the restrictions, such as lowering the age to obtain microcredit or a driving licence?

I'm not necessarily in favour of the change but I would like to hear some other people's thoughts.  Skills training often increases the self-confidence levels of out-of-school youth.  That may be an important factor in helping young people to protect their own rights at work (particularly if labour standards were a part of their skills course...)  Would giving young people more responsibility do the same, or would it only increase the risk young people working in poor conditions?

 

Cheers,

David

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by arun kumar at December 02. 2009

dear David,

thanks for raising another issue for discussion (and of course thanks for the complement). As you say, lowering the age limit for signing of contracts, driving license, etc is indeed controversial - and I look forward to what others have to say.

personally, I am not sure if that would solve the problem of decent work for youth. Firstly, there is no dearth of young people of 18 years and above with driving licenses and abilities (legal and intellectual) to sign contracts and yet they cannot get decent jobs - when there are enf job seekers above 18 years, perhaps it would be a better policy to keep the under 18s in the schooling systems or in training. Increasing the labour supply in a situation where there are job shortages and labour surplus will only worsen the bargaining power of youth for decent jobs.

I don't think it is legal inability of youth under 18 that prevents them from getting decent jobs - it is the current neo-liberal climate and policies that favour precarious flexible employment, more job seekers than jobs, and the employers' tendency to squeeze the worker as much as they can (which includes evading labour laws, social security contributions, even not wanting to pay minimum wages), combined with apathy of the labour laws implementation machinery  that is at the heart of 'indecent' working conditions.

The only way to promote 'decency' in the labour market, in employment relations is setting basic standards and then implementing them - either thru outright regulations or thru incentives and disincentives. In most countries today, violations of labour laws carry little cost to the employers.

And one thing that will create enabling environment for compliance with national labour laws would be if access to capital (bank loans, development finance) for the employers was linked to their complying with national labour laws – only when access to money/capital is restricted, that many small and medium enterprise owners would start respecting and complying with labour laws like – minimum ages, social security contributions, right to organize and collective bargaining in their businesses. How to link access to capital with labour standards at national level can be discussed.

best wishes

arun

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by Suyanna Linhales Barker at December 03. 2009

Hello everyone, my name is Suyanna Barker and I research the impact of hazardous work on adolescents’ health in Brazil. I have been also, over the last few years, developing training courses for health providers so they can identify health problems caused by unhealthy work environments. This experience has shown me how the health sector does not produce enough data on the impact of work on the health of young people and how this information can change public opinion about the exploitation of labor of youth work, especially when we have to make changes in the informal economy and among micro entrepreneurs. Many people do not associate their health problems with their working conditions and it is for health care providers inform and guide people on how to prevent work-related diseases. Many people also, when asked to define decent work, speak more about fair wage contracts than working conditions. For example, let's think about the working conditions of drivers in the cities of developing countries; how healthy is this work for adults and how the intrepid behavior of young people may increase the risks of this work. In Brazil, in the big city of São Paulo, the first cause of death among young workers is accidents involving motorcycles. There are in Sao Paulo a profession called Motoboy, which are a kind of messenger that can quickly deliver important documents across the city using fast motorcycles, which zigzags between cars and beat the traffic. That’s a tragic situation that would be worst if 18 years was not the minimum age requirement for this work.

Best regards,

Suyanna

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by arun kumar at December 03. 2009

hi Suyanna,

thanks for pointing out health and safety dimensions of the world of work and it indeed is part of the concept of decent work, oftrn neglected ofcourse.

and it certainly is one of the reasons to not lower the legal working age - youth in anycase often thinks that they are invincible and tend to disregard health and safety issues at work and in life in general. The situation is not helped by the general disregard by the employers and lack of awareness of hazards among employers and workers and even the policy makers. There is a major need in most countries (especially in developing countries) for information collection, research and analysis of hazards at work in a number of industries and economic activities. Its amazing how little research is done on the data contained in the existing institutions set up to compensate workers for health as also in the public hospitals (correlating diseases with occupations of the patients).

The other problem is - where the consciousness exists, the policy or at the attitude that is encouraged is  - that of compensation, rather than removal of hazards - employers are more likely to agree (and in fact tend to agree) to hazard allowance than invest in cleaner, safer technologies or methods of working. The fact that one can buy employee insurance for accidents, etc, (to pay for compensation) tends to encourage the employers apathy towards improving working conditions, rather than investing in better-safer workplace.

but then - as someone said on this forum - workers need for jobs and incomes is greater than their need for safer working conditions.

But sometimes I am not so sure abt this. I am sure if workers were made aware of hazards, they would insist on safe working conditions.

best wishes

arun

  

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by David Braun at December 03. 2009

Thanks Arun and Suyanna (great to see we are reaching Brazil!) for your replies. 

Arun - I am absolutely not suggesting lowering the legal working age.  I am suggesting that for adolescents above the legal working age, policy-makers could consider lowering the age on some other restrictions, which may open up better work opportunities.

To my mind, many of the suggestions you have made in your reply are not youth-specific.  They relate to the labour market generally - increase the amount of available jobs, improve industrial relations, improve education, etc.  There is no doubt that those are critical factors in improving the rights and conditions of young workers and workers in general.  If achieved, would go a long way to addressing the youth employment challenge.  But in the meantime, I am mooting an approach that may improve the labour situation for a particular group of young people (and admittedly only a very specific group). 

I agree that a better policy would be to keep young people in education or training.  Lowering the 'age of responsibility' should not act as any incentive for young people to drop out of school.  But if education policy isn't working, and the gap between the working age and the age of responsibility might be considered to in fact be limiting the labour options of young people, shouldn't we intervene sooner rather than later to improve their job prospects?  Doesn't such a policy make it more likely that they will only be able to find work in the informal sector?  For further protection, any such changes to restrictions could be conditional on completing a skills course or an entrepreneurship course.  And they may be restricted to economies where education systems drop-out rates are high or the capacity of the education system is still developing.

Suyanna, Motoboys are a good example of where a change may not be appropriate.  You have cited a dangerous example.  But what about the counterexample of a young person living in a rural area where traffic is less of an issue?  Would the difference in maturity between a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old really make a difference?  Is there a point at which the decent work benefits of relaxing the restricitons might outweigh the risks?  Even if they do, we may run into the problem of having many, many different licences and restrictions for young people in different conditions, which may not be able to be efficiently regulated.  But my point is that perhaps some of these restrictions could be rethought where the conditions are right.  Are there any other examples from other countries?  (Of course, further example for why this is a bad suggestion are also welcome.)

Perhaps then it is best to stick to microcredit - people are less likely to get physically hurt :)  We teach entrepreneurship to young people - for the ILO, to out-of-school youth through the SIYB cluster - and access to formal credit is often cited as a significant problem for young people.  Could formal lending institutions be convinced to extend microcredit to a 16-year-old with an SIYB-developed business plan?  Does this already happen anywhere?

Again, I can see why making changes like this would be difficult and risky.  Adolescents certainly need protection but I think their agency is often not sufficiently considered.

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by Saeed Awan at December 03. 2009
Dear friends,
 
I am Saeed Awan, Director of centre for the Improvement of Working Conditions & Environment (CIWCE) in Lahore Pakistan. We are part of the Department of Labour in Punjab province. Our institution has been involved in a number of initiatives targeted to identify and combat hazardous child labour and promote healthy youth employment. I would like to share my thoughts based on our experience in Pakistan.
 
 

Definitions and laws: The laws sometimes are a hinderance specially some  labour laws which discourage the employment of young workers.I know several factories totally ban the employment of persons below 18 years of age thus denying them the opportunity  to  learn a useful skill. Many of these factories are linked with supply chains and are afraid of social auditors. The local social security law and practice also does not allow the person below 18 years to be covered as workers. This creates a dilemma for the employers and managers who do not employ adolescent workers of legal age or hide them thus denying them basic protection. Many of the adolescent workers are thus pushed into more hazardous and poorly regulated informal sector and  construction activities. The apprenticeship schemes are also poorly implemented. There is need to encourage the healthy and safe employment of youth giving them full protection. Some laws may also have to be changed. there is need to appraise the laws in the country for their youth friendliness. Also the supply chain auditors must also be told that they should encourage apprenticeship and safe employment by workers of legal age.

 

Improving workplace design: We have experimented with a number of low cost innovative approaches to change the workplace design, by changing the height and design of the work stations to make them more youth friendly. We have had success in carpet weaving, glass bangle making and surgical instruments manufacturing., where the comfort and productivity of youth was increased by improving tool and workstation design.  However this concept has to be adopted at larger scale by the employers. We are working towards it by spreading the information among the employers of youth. 

 

Access to credit: We at CIWCE  are currently implementing a project for empowerment of workers in clay brick making sector. Under this project we are providing small interest free loans as well as other social services to families at brick kilns. Unfortunately workers of 14-18 years age group cannot receive the loans as they do not have a national ID card, which is only issued to persons above 18 years of age. 

Gender: Lot of female young workers are engaged in home based work and in informal sector, with no legal protection. We need to focus on these workers as well. 

 

 

 

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by arun kumar at December 04. 2009

dear David, dear Saeed,

there is certainly a scope for improving chances of decent work for youth between 14-18 years but here I would like to play the cynic and a devils' advocate - and raise issues regarding what should be the national policy regarding this age group and the questions related to its implementation:

1. given that this age group works in any case, if national policy relaxes few restrictions, do you think that would then lead to better options for them? for wage employment? for self employment? Speaking of wage employment, what is the comparative advantage (for the employers) to employ 14-18 years bracket in preference to the vast majority of 18+ unemployed?

2. further, does the State that has a hard time implementing regulations for adult workforce (or for the general labour market) be in any better position to ensure that certain exceptions that are created for 14-18 years bracket are not abused? 

3. SIYB, accesss to credit, self employment for youth (especially poor youth - men and women): what kind of entrepreneurship is promoted under these programmes? making detergents, candles? jams, juices, carpentry, brick making?, garments? etc etc - how decent are these jobs? Secondly, sure, access to credit is an issue but equally critical is - selling what they make. Poor and unemployed can be taught how to make things, but their problem then is - marketing of their products - which is generally done thru exhibitions and special arrangements mostly. Its not only marketing but staying in the market and being able to change the product mix when the market conditions change. Frankly, even the NGOs which have been in this business for last 3 decades or more, are facing this bottleneck. When even the businesses of those with MBA degrees fail, what are the chances of these poor not so well educated unemployed youth to succeed in todays market and compete with other small and medium entreprises producing similar products on a mass scale? I am not saying all such ventures are failures, but large majority are not very sustainable. Most generate low incomes for long hours of work put into these ventures. Frankly, it is a misplaced policy that we can solve the problem of unemployment by turning the vast majority of the youth into 'entrepreneurs' .  sure there is some scope but it should not be exaggerated.  

This trend towards 'entrepreneurship development tends to shift the attention from the state policies that do not promote employment - tend to shift the responsibility from the state and the employers to the individuals themselves for creating their own opportunities in a system that is loaded against them from their birth (I assume we are talking of poor unemployed youth and not rich kids).

The issue really is that while - yes, we should make some special efforts for youth employment and rights promotion - but the youth will have a better chance if we focus on promoting decent work conditions for the labour market  as a whole. Which means - government policy that encourages employment and not tax employment, public regulation of business (not very fashionable in current times of employment flexibility), public investment in improving infrastructure - roads, transport, electricity, etc - that would help generating business and employment opportunities and setting basic labour standards for the nation as a whole that should apply to all - contract, casual, temporary, full time, private or public sector workers - no exceptions, no special treatment to any category - same rights (Freedom of association, collective bargaining and social security entitlements as the social floor would go a long way in promoting decent work and workers rights).

Welll, its late night and I may have not acted as a moderator in this post but excuse that - my intentions are honorable :) in raising these issues.

best wishes

arun

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by Khairil Yusof at December 04. 2009

On point 2 provided by Arun and those raised by Saeed regarding social auditors raises the following question from me..

Maybe we should be promoting "Stay in School" for those under 18 instead of promoting decent work?

For the 15-17 age bracket, wouldn't it better if there was focus on keeping youth in schools either to go on trying to possibly pursue degrees (with scholarship support for those from lower income families) or vocational high schools for those who want to work as soon as possible. They would gain from learning more skills, having qualifications and career counseling in safer environment of school. They would also not be working illegally, and therefore open to abuse.

It will keep a vulnerable group out of the labour market which many have highlighted already has a lot of common decent  work issues that need to be addressed.

Along these lines, as for credit, maybe these funds could be used to support staying in school and social support to families as being done CIWCE (http://www.ciwce.org.pk)?

I only did a quick Google Search, but the US Census Bureau reports supports the fact that better education leads to better incomes : http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p23-210.pdf.

Are there any real benefits to staring work so early? Or is it simply due to financial pressures of poor communities?

 

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by Manzoor Khaliq at December 04. 2009

On Khairil's questions whether children should stay longer in schools or not merit some discussion. In poor family setting children are considered as asset rather than a liability. The reason being that the house economics are hard pressed for resources, so those children who start to work early contribute to household income and on the other hand save education related expenses. So for them, the child entering labour market at an early age gives dividend right away. Having said this, it is a known fact that return on investment of education is very high, so the longer the child stay in education the earning prospects in the labour market improve. However we have to consider the practical side of the reality of such families. It will therefore be important to imporve the quality and responsiveness of education and training system in such countries to better equip workers for the labour market and improve the chances of better wages and other related benefits.

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by Valentina Barcucci at December 04. 2009

Hi all,

My name is Valentina and I am youth employment officer in Bangkok. I would like to second what Manzoor has said above. The effect of every additional year of education on salaries, for instance  has been widely investigated and proven as positive. However, the reality of our region shows that young people often have no choice and have to engage in some form of  income generating activity.

 

The quality of education also plays a role in taking young people away from school: the wider is the gap between the skills that can be learned in school and what the private sector requires , the lower is he perception of value and utility of education. Moreover , quantity/accessibility of education are also key determinants in young people’s choices …and I should stop here I guess, as these topics were thoroughly discussed in the last discussion forum.   

 

I would like to add something to Arun’s point on promoting entrepreneurship for young people. I concur with you when you say  that ‘one cannot think to solve the problem of unemployment through turning the majority of young people into entrepreneurs’. I  don't think there is any doubt on the fact that youth enterprise is not the only answer to the youth employment challenge. However, I do believe that entrepreneusrhip plays a role in improving the opportunities for young people. Matter of fact, the private sector in many areas of our region shows weaknesses in absorbing young entrants each year. In some areas the size of the private sector is inadequate and the supply of products and services limited, leaving a significant portion of unsatisfied demand.  These elements represent a challenge for young workers looking for employment, but they also represent an opportunity for those who want to undertake businesses and fill some of the gaps. Sometimes, enterprise solutions for young people are temporary and bridge periods between jobs, providing an alternative to remaining idle or engaging in hazardous activities. Some other times, youth enterprises scale up and create more jobs.

 

It is probably true that enterprise education and access to credit, despite crucial, are not a panacea especially in times of crisis, when MBA educated entrepreneurs struggle to navigate the economic turbulence. However, young entrepreneurs are fuel for private sector growth , and economies  in our region – both more and less advanced ones - cannot afford to neglect it. For this reason, a strong institutional support to the development of youth enterprise should be there. Young people face specific barriers in accessing credit and require -due to limited experience - extra assistance in the form of mentoring. Employers’ organizations are often well suited to provide young entrepreneurs with the necessary support- they have both the incentives and the geographic penetration. Solutions such as free membership for micro and young entrepreneurs should be considered in a larger scale, with the goal of integrating small businesses into a social network through which access to credit and to business opportunities can be facilitated.

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by arun kumar at December 06. 2009

dear all,

to cope with the unemployment crisis, I would imagine the policies and responses have to be multifaceted and more than one strategy will need to be put in place. In this context, certainly youth entrepreneurship development, self employment and wage employment programmes - all have their role to play and should be encouraged.

What would really help is to know from the experiences of these initiatives what has worked? and what can be done to overcome the problems that these youth entrepreneurship programmes have faced? Access to credit has been stressed and certainly, it needs to be addressed. Access to markets has also been pointed out by those promoting income generating activities or entrepreneurship development programmes. In my limited experience of promoting income generating activities for poor women in rural and semi-rural areas, I found - poor can make things, credit can also be made available, but he real problem comes when they have to sell? and sell on a regular basis in the market and respond to changing market conditions - and at the same time, compete with already established private businesses who make and market the same or similar products on a mass scale. Frankly, the success rate is low. rarely do poor rise over subsistence level thru such ventures.

Anyone in this forum with experience of implementing projects for youth entrepreurship programmes? what have been the difficulties and successes?

best wishes

arun

 

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by Henrik Vistisen at December 06. 2009

Dear all,

Youth employment priorities – research, policy, technical assistance & advocacy

The many interesting and thought provoking interventions on the discussion forum over the last couple of weeks inspired me to try come up with a list of issues and interventions that maybe could take both ILO’s work on youth employment and our general virtual Community of Practitioners (CoP) even further.

We could try to:

 Continue our efforts in making youth employment a policy priority putting youth employment issues firmly on both the policy agenda of individual countries as well as the agenda of multilateral and bilateral development agencies.

  1. Enhance the youth employment policy and labour market research agenda. Obvious issues to research are the following questions a) how to achieve youth have access to productive and decent work, b) the exact patterns of vulnerability of youth in the labour market, c) which school-to-work transition models work best, d) which policies and related active and passive labour market instruments can help level the playing field for youth?
  2. Facilitate the further establishment of a closely knit network of ILO HQ and Field specialist on youth with a view to boost quality of advisory services, provision of technical cooperation and research and knowledge sharing on youth employment. This could be done through appointment of youth employment focal points in all HQ and Field offices (mirroring the focal point system set up for e.g. gender and child labour) as well as building on the present status of the work of ILO’s global and regional knowledge sharing platforms.
  3. Continue to set-up strong linkages between ILO’s network of youth employment specialists and capacities and the wider CoP interested in youth employment issues – such as the APYouthNet.
  4. Systematically work with donors and governments to gauge donor and government interest in youth employment and solicit high quality technical projects and programmes for funding based on a) research on what works best and b) knowledge and best practices solicited from the network of ILO HQ, Field youth specialists and the CoP at large.

 Best regards, Henrik in Sri Lanka

 

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by Rosas Gianni at December 07. 2009

Dear colleagues,

Some comments on the interesting exchanges above.

Re. David's note on the conflict between minimum working age and age at which an individual is considered to having capacity of signing a labour contract. In many countries, the fact that someone can sign a contract gives her/him the capacity to act as having reached adult age. S/he can subscribe a number of "obligations" that can be usually stipulated by those of age. These legal provisions are often accompanied by laws that require a "tutor" for the young person. In the specific case of labour contracts, it is the national legislator that should stipulate the cases when a job is "likely to jeopardize the health, safety or morals of young persons" to quote the minimum age Convention No. C138 (1973). It is clear that cases that are not identified by the legislator within these categories should allow young persons who have reached the minimun age to sign a contract. If the country(-ies) you mentioned have ratified C138, there is a problem of application. If they haven't we should encourage them to do so, also through the provision of technical assistance.

The information provided by Suyanna and Saeed is quite interesting. Is there a way that we can connect? The Programmes of the ILO on youth employment and on child labour are working on these topics. We would be happy to join forces and exchange notes on the interesting work you are doing in your respective countries.  

The exchanges between Valentina and Arun on youth entrepreneurship are also very interesting. I agree with Arun that tackling the youth employment challenge requires a combination of several interventions, including entrepreneurhsip for young people who have the potential and willingness to become entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, in many cases policymakers promote youth entrepreneurship in a too generalized/un-targeted fashion, although it is evident that becoming self-employed requires a series of occupational skills and work experience that need to be acquired prior to (or in conjunction with) management skills.  

Best regards,

Gianni

Re: Promoting decent work for youth: what can be done?

Posted by arun kumar at December 07. 2009

Thanks Henrik for suggesting an excellent 'to follow up' agenda.

fully support your thoughts and suggestions for things we need (and others) need to do to put youth employment on the priority of the policy makers.

best wishes

arun

P.S. you know you should moderate this discussion in future - I been reading your posts and you do a great job of pushing things ahead.

 

Previously Henrik Vistisen wrote:

Dear all,

Youth employment priorities – research, policy, technical assistance & advocacy

The many interesting and thought provoking interventions on the discussion forum over the last couple of weeks inspired me to try come up with a list of issues and interventions that maybe could take both ILO’s work on youth employment and our general virtual Community of Practitioners (CoP) even further.

We could try to:

 Continue our efforts in making youth employment a policy priority putting youth employment issues firmly on both the policy agenda of individual countries as well as the agenda of multilateral and bilateral development agencies.

  1. Enhance the youth employment policy and labour market research agenda. Obvious issues to research are the following questions a) how to achieve youth have access to productive and decent work, b) the exact patterns of vulnerability of youth in the labour market, c) which school-to-work transition models work best, d) which policies and related active and passive labour market instruments can help level the playing field for youth?
  2. Facilitate the further establishment of a closely knit network of ILO HQ and Field specialist on youth with a view to boost quality of advisory services, provision of technical cooperation and research and knowledge sharing on youth employment. This could be done through appointment of youth employment focal points in all HQ and Field offices (mirroring the focal point system set up for e.g. gender and child labour) as well as building on the present status of the work of ILO’s global and regional knowledge sharing platforms.
  3. Continue to set-up strong linkages between ILO’s network of youth employment specialists and capacities and the wider CoP interested in youth employment issues – such as the APYouthNet.
  4. Systematically work with donors and governments to gauge donor and government interest in youth employment and solicit high quality technical projects and programmes for funding based on a) research on what works best and b) knowledge and best practices solicited from the network of ILO HQ, Field youth specialists and the CoP at large.

 Best regards, Henrik in Sri Lanka

 

 

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