IIMA participates in a NGOs informal meeting on “Youth Employment”

On the 18th of April, IIMA participated in a discussion on “Youth Employment” organized by the International Catholic Centre in Geneva (ICCG). The meeting featured Mr. Larry Kohler, member of the Executive Committee of the International Catholic Center of Geneva and former ILO officer, as well as the participation of representatives of some Catholic-based NGOs.

Mr. Kohler painted a picture of the situation of youth employment around the world: over 75 million youth worldwide are looking for work and young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, according to 2011 ILO estimations. Youth also have difficulties in the transition from school to the labour market because of the gap between the educational system and the working world. This is a problem experienced also by highly qualified students from universities or college (in the EU 1 out of 6 highly educated young persons is still unemployed). There are also special vulnerable groups among young people that face many more obstacles to find a job, and they are related to age (the youngest being the most disadvantaged), gender, level of education, social and economic background, disabilities, diseases like HIV/AIDS and migrant status. Moreover, Mr. Kohler explained the work of the International Labour Organization (ILO), especially with regard to the struggle against youth unemployment, providing assistance to countries, monitoring the observation of Conventions and recommendations by State parties and coordinating interventions on youth employment. He also reminded the participants of the forthcoming Youth Employment Forum, which will be held by ILO from the 23rd to the 25th of May in Geneva. In conclusion, Mr. Kohler highlighted also the deep concern of the Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon about the issue of youth employment and his desire to develop an action plan within the United Nations and to appoint a new Special Adviser for Youth. After the speech, several questions were raised concerning what could be done by the NGOs to spread awareness on the importance of this issue, how to give a voice to young people about their future and how to create new job opportunities for youth. Mr. Kohler answered these questions affirming the need for sharing more information, working with parents on the importance of education and on the link between education and work. He also remarked that youth cooperatives can be created with equipment and skills support, and he suggested new sectors like the green economy as a good opportunity for maximizing creativity and skills of young people.