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The world's youth deliver manifesto for the future of vocational skills at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017

17 October 2017

A manifesto representing the collective voice of the world's youth - and how they believe the future of skills should be shaped - has been delivered to global change-makers, thought-leaders, and influencers at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.

The Youth Declaration - handed over to policymakers during the Ministers TVET Summit, held on the sidelines of the world’s biggest vocational skills competition, and attended by national ministers of education, skills, industry, and business - was drafted by 300 young professionals from around the world who worked in six think tanks: Innovation, Happiness & Tolerance, Green Economy, Global Citizenship, ‘Industry 4.0’ or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and Entrepreneurship.  

Several topical issues were addressed during the online forums - discussions which were continued at the International TVET Youth Forum, also taking place on the sidelines of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, on 14-15 October - including the role that skills will play in building future smart cities; skills that will drive innovation; solutions to make TVET more diverse and inclusive; and the skills needed to contribute to social good and to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

The young professionals developed the Youth Declaration to present to global decision-makers on the opening day of the WorldSkills Conference 2017, coinciding with the first Ministers TVET Summit. It is designed to launch a skills legacy, providing a foundation for further discussion that catalyzes tangible action and ensures WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 leaves an enduring mark on the vocational skills landscape.


Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs in the UAE, highlighted the importance of the Youth Forum which represented a unique opportunity for young professionals from across the world to shape the future of skills.

“The Youth Forum is particularly important as it is being held on the sidelines of the WorldSkills Competition, which focuses on the creative energies of youth in various fields,” she said. “The youth are the pillar of the future, and they will take the responsibility of development and leadership, therefore, they must assume responsibility for their home countries, by developing and building their capacities.

“This forum represents an opportunity for guests to learn about the UAE’s leading experience in supporting youth innovation, motivating them to compete, and releasing their capabilities, which we are happy to share with all the guests wishing to exchange constructive experiences for youth development, and thus improve the future of our countries.”

His Excellency Mubarak Saeed Al Shamsi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET), said: “The purpose of organizing the TVET Youth Forum was to give a group of bright minds from all across the globe the opportunity to reach out to decision-makers, thus benefiting from the momentum and positive atmosphere associated with hosting of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.

“The Youth Forum represented an important platform to get a closer look at the concerns and needs of the new generation, and identify their opinion on many issues that have a direct impact on them, such as the labour market requirements, sustainable development, equal opportunities and gender equality. I thank the youth who participated in the TVET Youth Forum and drafting the first ever Youth Declaration.

“The youth have done their part and now we - the Ministers - will have to do ours by reviewing and discussing this Youth Declaration, and taking the necessary measures and decisions to serve this important segment that will lead the world towards a brighter and advanced future.”


About half of the Youth Forum participants were from across the UAE, with the remainder being international participants like Iipinge Riika Leva lipinge, from Namibia, who said: “With TVET skills, you will be a jack of all skills in the community, meaning that you can do anything related to any trade and you can also teach people from the community.”

Fellow participant Felix Carlos Bracke, from Germany, said: “Any TVET skill offers the base for becoming a professional in any job and ensures a social status – therefore, TVET must be promoted and made accessible for everybody.”

Fatma Al Rahma, an Emirati who participated in the drafting of the Youth Declaration, said “TVET could improve the mindset of societies not only by educating young people but also their guardians”. Her fellow Emirati Mariam Ahmed Obaid Mudhafer AlShamsi added:  “The problem with young people not pursuing a career in the skilled trades is largely because they are not introduced to it."

WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 is taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 15-18 October, the first time it has been held in the Middle East and North Africa region. About 1,300 young participants from around the world are competing in 51 Skills categories across six overarching sectors, with more than 100,000 visitors from the UAE and more than 10,000 from around the world expected to attend.

Abu Dhabi was selected as host city for the 44th edition of the biennual WorldSkills Competition – awarded to EmiratesSkills under the umbrella of ACTVET - in 2013.