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2 October 2017

Identifying pathways to work that allow youth to shine

The question of whether the pivotal players in the field of vocational skills can do more to open up avenues for talented young people to succeed will be at the center of discussion and debate at WorldSkills Conference 2017.

On the sidelines of the world’s largest skills competition, which will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 14-19 October, the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) will host a sector-spanning discussion focusing on what has succeeded in advancing skills development around the world, where gaps remain, and how they can be bridged.

The session, entitled ‘Enabling a generation to work: innovative approaches to tackle youth unemployment’, reflects the goal of GAN, a coalition of global companies, employer federations and international organizations dedicated to addressing the skills mismatch and youth unemployment, and enabling provision of work-readiness training that ensures young people have the skills that businesses need. Launched as an 'action-driven' initiative by the G20 forum and its business-focused arm, B20, in 2013, it was tasked with promoting “skills for business and jobs for youth”, chiefly through apprenticeships.

It now has now more than 180 member companies and nine national networks across five continents, all sharing the vision of creating more than 20 million career opportunities for young people by 2020. This vision will drive the topic of its session at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, with Shea Gopaul, Founder and Executive Director of GAN, saying: “All stakeholders – including public, private, and civil society organizations – stand to benefit from investing time and resources in the issue of youth unemployment”.

“The moderated panel discussion we are hosting at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 will facilitate the sharing of best practices, with a particular focus on private sector-led initiatives. Looking at some of the innovative employer-led solutions that have reaped rewards, those attending will be encouraged to share their own success stories and inspire discussion”.

“And we’ll be asking: what more could all stakeholders be doing to get the younger generation on the career path? We want it to be a highly-interactive session, from which real solutions and best practices from businesses to develop skills among youth will emerge.”

In a meeting hosted at the White House in 2016, the GAN coalition set in motion the ‘Global Apprenticeship Movement’, bringing together CEOs of its member companies, international organizations, and business and employers, and high-level officials from governments and NGOs, to identify domestic and global solutions for ensuring young people have access to employment and employers have a pipeline of talent that dovetails with their needs.

The first GAN National Networks were launched in Turkey, Indonesia, Spain, and Argentina in 2015, with Colombia, Mexico, Malawi, and Tanzania following in 2016-2017. Further networks will be launched in the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Namibia, and Kenya, while GAN France – the first GAN National Network to be hosted by a company – has just been launched.