Nationwide youth consultation held on skills in COVID era
To mark the World Youth Skills Day 2021, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Grameenphone Ltd and Youth Policy Forum (YPF) jointly organized a virtual consultation on the Need for Skills in post COVID era on 14 July 2021.
Thirty youths from 18 districts of Bangladesh took part in the dialogue. They voiced their opinions on the existing skills gap between educational institutions and the current job markets and what skills they want for future readiness. The consultation was a part of UNDP and Grameenphone "Get Future Ready" programme to observe this year's Skills Day.
At the outset of the consultation, Mahmudul Hassan, Programme Officer and Youth Coordinator, UNDP Bangladesh, presented a keynote on the multiple aspects of skills for youth. Quoting ILO, he said in his presentation, "More than 2 million youths enter the workforce each year but face a skill gap in Bangladesh either in quantity or in quality."
Following the presentation, youth from grassroots levels shared their thoughts and underscored the lack of adequate opportunities for skills development. Marilin Farzana Ahmed, YPF Senior Fellow, in her discussion, said, "We need to think out of the box by being innovative. Countries are being connected globally through language skills, business and other platforms."
Farhana Islam, Head of Innovation, Grameenphone, emphasized the new opportunities that the pandemic brought through digital transformation and highlighted the importance of learning new skills. She said, "Digital foundation skills are crucial, and we need a collective effort to develop new skills and leverage the internet to learn new skills in the Post COVID era."
The consultation was also stressed on both hard and soft skills together in the Post-COVID era. "Our young generation needs to work on reliance, tolerance, team management alongside other skills",- Rafia, Youth Representative, said.
Ashekur Rahman, Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, touched on the informal sector and said, "Approximately 87% of our economy is reliant on the informal sector. we need to prepare our young generation for the Green Economy, which is paving the way for 24 million new jobs by 2030." He further added, "Fast world jobs are mostly IT related such as data scientists, data management and many more in this new reality."
In recommendations, youth urged for having vocational training courses in parallel with their classroom education and commended for an inclusive approach in collaboration with public and private sector on skills programme to ensure the much talked demographic dividend.