From education to employment

World Youth Skills Day: Sector Response

world youth skills day

In celebration of World Youth Skills Day, the Further Education (FE) sector stands at the forefront, ready to empower and equip the next generation with the essential tools and expertise to thrive in a rapidly evolving world.

As the global event shines a spotlight on the critical role of skills development in fostering economic growth and addressing youth unemployment, the FE sector emerges as an unwavering advocate for accessible and inclusive education, offering a diverse range of vocational and technical training opportunities.

With a firm commitment to nurturing talent, bridging the skills gap, and empowering young individuals, the FE sector stands poised to make a profound impact on the lives of countless youth as they embark on a journey towards success and fulfillment.

Below, the sector responds to this important day.

Sector Response

Elizabeth Anderson, Interim Chief Executive of the Digital Poverty Alliance, said:

“Youth Skills Day serves as a reminder of the critical importance of empowering young individuals with the necessary skills and resources for employment and success in the digital age, and we must continue to invest in our young people to boost economic resiliency and enhance their futures.”

“The day also spotlights how many still lack access to connectivity as one in 20 households have been reported to have no home internet, preventing millions from accessing core services such as digital banking, online healthcare and education resources. Digital inclusion unlocks key skills development as online platforms are sandboxes for learning and innovation, which can in turn can drive both equal opportunities for all as well innovation for economic growth.”

“The government, in partnership with stakeholders, must therefore keep the skills crisis high on their agendas as industry demands increase and help battle unemployment levels.”

Anastasios Dagkos, Director of Responsible Gameplay, at Pixel United:

“The World Youth Skill Day reminds us that to help young people confidently navigate in the digital world, we must foster a completely new set of skills. Tech literacy, which includes coding and understanding the mechanics of emerging innovations such as generative AI, is no longer nice to have but crucial for success. 

Moreover, as the boundaries between consumers and creators in entertainment become ever more blurred, we must teach all people, but especially young ones, how to navigate, use, and contribute to digital platforms responsibly. For example, the tech industry, education system, and influencers can educate young people about the implications of sharing personal information and content, privacy settings, legal aspects like copyright labels, and the potential for their creations to influence others. 

By consciously arming young people with these new skills, we enable them to be informed consumers and potential creators – thus also helping to close the skills gap that looms in the tech industry today.”

Steve Harris, Global Talent Acquisition Lead at 8×8:

“On this World Youth Skills Day, we celebrate the potential of our young generation and the transformative role they play in shaping our future. As industries embrace the digital revolution, one skill set stands out as indispensable: proficiency in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its applications across various sectors, including the contact centre industry.

“Innovation has always been the cornerstone of progress, and AI represents the epitome of innovation in today’s world. By harnessing the power of AI, companies can revolutionise customer experiences, offering personalised and efficient solutions that were once unimaginable. For example, AI is a game-changer in the contact centre landscape – from chatbots providing real-time assistance to predictive analytics optimising operations .

“However, to fully leverage the potential of AI, we must invest in the skills of our youth. By fostering AI skill development, we empower young people to thrive in industries driven by constant innovation, such as the ever-changing technology and contact centre landscapes. Offering training programmes and educational initiatives can ignite their curiosity and passion for AI, equipping them with the tools they need to excel.

“Nurturing the development of new technology skills among the youth will also encourage a generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers – factors that lie at the heart of technical roles, such as engineering. 

“This World Youth Skills Day and beyond, let us reaffirm our commitment to fostering AI skill development. By doing so, we can empower our youth with the knowledge and expertise to leverage AI’s potential, ensuring that they are at the forefront of driving progress, making our world a more connected, efficient, and inclusive place.”

Josh Krichefski, CEO, EMEA & UK at GroupM and IPA President

“One of the greatest things about our creative industry is that there is something for everyone.

“No matter who you are or where you come from – there’s a place for you. But that is not always the perception.

“So much of our prospective talent still doubt themselves. And even though our industry needs a multitude of different skillsets we have not, traditionally, been great at sending the invitation far and wide.

“That’s why there’s a need to reach out to people from all walks of life – whether students at secondary schools or someone who may be looking to make a move into our industry, having had work experience somewhere else, for a couple of years. We need to showcase how inclusive the sector has become, highlighting that a career in advertising doesn’t need you to tick a certain box or change yourself to fit into one kind of culture.

“Don’t get me wrong, the industry has made great strides to be more inclusive and has seen success bringing in young people at the starts of their careers, but retention is still an issue among minority groups. As far as agency culture has come, there is still some way to go (and I’m not excluding myself from this discussion). I’m very keen for the sector to work towards celebrating what ‘good’ looks like when it comes to inclusion and allyship, because spreading that sort of message is something we are uniquely positioned to do.

“Ensuring that young people have the support they need at each rung of the ladder is essential. Whether it’s making sure they feel like they belong or equipping them with adequate training along their journeys, industry leaders have a big role to play to safeguarding the future of advertising. There is plenty of young talent out there ready to take up the mantle, and on us, as leaders of organisations to make sure their skills are nurtured and the sooner we make this shift, the better.”

Tony Deblauwe, VP of Human Resources at Celigo

“With the development and rapid adoption of generative AI, robotics, automation, and other disruptive technology, job roles are shifting at a moment’s notice to keep pace. And in a digital-first economy, where technology continues to alter industries worldwide, it’s stark to find that nearly three in five people worldwide feel they lack the right STEM qualifications.

While education may start in universities and trade schools, businesses have an opportunity to shape the workers that are solving today’s problems by providing on-the-job training and learning opportunities that keep pace with today’s digital world. For instance, by allowing crossover in job responsibilities and enabling tech-savvy business users to automate their own processes rather than relying on the IT department, we’ve seen organisations make better use of their resources while also growing the collective skills of their employees.

“It also comes down to putting the foundations for the future generation in place to get ahead of the next disruption.”

Hadi Moussa, Managing Director EMEA at Coursera 

“From a tight labour market to the rapid onset of Artificial Intelligence (AI), this year’s World Youth Skills Day arrives at a crucial time for young people in the UK, and highlights the need to prioritise skills amidst a highly competitive and constantly evolving landscape.

According to Coursera’s 2023 Global Skills Report, the UK’s skills proficiency has regressed, falling from 38th to 64th globally. There are undoubtedly many factors that have contributed to this decline, but perhaps the most glaring is the long-standing underinvestment in the UK’s skills development. For the UK to turn its fortunes around and better prepare young people for the world of work it must adopt a new approach, one that is skills-first and role-based. More must be done to encourage an ethos of lifelong, continuous learning and more investment must be made in upskilling and reskilling opportunities. As the world of work evolves, so must we.

And to overcome the UK skills crunch, it’s critical the UK government, educational institutions and businesses keep in mind: there is no singular path to success. They must diversify, and utilise the online learning resources available to rapidly skill young learners. In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving digital economy, the key to meeting the demands of this new world lies in embracing flexibility, accessibility and equity.” 

Mykhailo Dorokhov, Engineering Learning & Development Lead at Pipedrive

“As Engineering Learning & Development Lead, I am passionate about nurturing the next generation of technologists and equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in the ever-evolving digital landscape. That’s why World Youth Skills Day is so important. It serves as a powerful reminder of the vital role we can play in empowering young minds with the necessary tools and knowledge to thrive in the world of technology. For example, being a mentor myself at, a digital product development program for Estonian pupils, has been an immensely rewarding experience. I have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of providing future-oriented technology education to pupils in Estonia, allowing them to focus on cultivating a combination of soft and technical skills essential for delivering digital products that users would love. 

As a global tech company, Pipedrive recognizes the importance of fostering talent in the industry, which is why we are relaunching Pipedrive’s School of Code. This unique learning experiment aims to provide individuals who have long aspired to pursue a career in IT – but lacked the opportunity to take those fundamental steps – with a chance to delve into the world of software development. Our internship and mentoring program creates an efficient and focused learning environment, allowing participants to gain practical experience under the guidance of experienced Pipedrive engineers, including myself. They will explore the intricacies of creating web applications, learn from their mistakes, and continuously grow as professionals. 

World Youth Skills Day is a reminder that together we can create a brighter future by providing the next generation with the skills they need to thrive in the digital era.”

Bukki Adedapo, UK Country Manager at Fiverr

“In today’s rapidly evolving world, where technological advancements and developments are shaping our workforce, investing in the skills development of young individuals is crucial for their personal growth as well as the growth of our global economies. 

Skills shortages are particularly rife within the UK tech sector, with 46% of start-ups within technology citing hiring challenges and a shortfall of qualified employees as their two top concerns for this year. We must take advantage of the opportunities that exist to engage young people, by providing them with the necessary skills and resources that they will need to thrive later in life and contribute to bettering our planet. 

As such, to facilitate the future growth of the UK workforce, we need to ensure we are doing all we can to provide young people with the tools they need to upskill for their future careers.”

James Mensforth, Head of UK&I at Aircall 

“Manual tasks can be extremely time-consuming, particularly for more junior team members who are often in more admin-heavy roles. However, the younger generation wants their workday to be free from these responsibilities and more focused on meaningful work. And why shouldn’t they—especially when AI can now automate so much of our working day? 

While 64% of employees in SMBs state they are optimistic about AI in general—this rises to 68% for those aged 25-34, showing that AI will be an important part of work for future generations. 

This World Youth Skills Day, we should focus on how AI can help liberate the younger generation from low value, admin tasks and empower them to spend more time developing key skills essential to their, and the wider business’s, development and success.” 

Nisha Kadaba, Senior Manager, Global Social Impact at PagerDuty

“Supporting the next generation of young people in technology and business is the right move for the technology industry looking to close the skills gap and improve access. Youth skills development aligns with our vision for a more equitable world for PagerDuty. We have multiple grass-roots partnerships for youth skills programmes that have spanned many successful years. These are all supported and/or led by our internal community responders and employee resource groups – taking a bottom up approach.

We tell ourselves and the youth we work with to ‘cultivate an impact mindset’. Our actions, individually and collectively, affect our lives and the world. Even with economic uncertainty, exponential technological advancements (broadly speaking), and many systemic global challenges, there’s room to use soft and tech skills to grow and thrive, for ourselves and for each other.

As tech leaders, we must ask ourselves how we want the industry to evolve. Part of the answer is to democratise and ensure the pipeline of new talent is more representative of society. Another part is in teaching our youth how to use technology for good – now even more important with the growth of AI – to make the world a better place.

“It’s our collective responsibility to make space for youth advancement so they’re set up for the jobs of the future that we can’t even conceive of yet.”

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