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Help young people get online to build skills

In this COVID-19 era, skills and personal development training are now being delivered on digital platforms, leaving behind those without access to the internet. Ariana Joseph, 20-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent from Antigua and Barbuda argues that now is the time to make this technology available to those who can’t afford it.

When we consider that young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and when we further consider that older folks are more likely to fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic leaving young people to shoulder the economic responsibility in multi-generational homes, the issue of skills training for the younger population becomes more critical and urgent. 

This year’s theme for World Youth Skills Day: Skills for a Resilient Youth in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond, is quite timely as it directs us to think about skills training while we are living with COVID-19.

The importance of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be overemphasized. Technology has kept people connected in businesses, in the religious sphere, and other areas of life. Though interrupted by COVID-19, activity in these spheres has not exactly grounded to a halt. Similarly, skills training is being delivered on many of the digital platforms. The problem, however, is that most of the young people who need the skills training do not have the resources to purchase the hardware and internet services to access the training. 

Changing this situation requires leadership in government, the corporate sector, non-governmental organizations and international agencies. Our leaders must ensure that workable policies are formulated and implemented to address the absence of skills training for young people who do not have smart mobile devices, desktop computers and internet services to access online training.

We cannot afford to continue ignoring this vulnerable and marginalized portion of our global community. Failure to do so can lead to an increase in poverty and a rise in crime. 

Additionally it is in the best interest of governments and the business community to see that all our young people have access to training and are seamlessly integrated into the world of work; for governments, a well trained workforce will mean increased revenues; for businesses it will mean increased productivity and profit margins.

COVID-19 has created an excellent opportunity for us all to rethink our attitudes to skills training, and access to technology, particularly for those between the ages of 15 and 24 years who are poor and marginalized. Bold and strategic approaches are needed to ensure that all of our youth are equipped with the pertinent skills that will help them to secure employment and successfully navigate the emerging currents and new norms.

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Photo Credits: Pixabay

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About Ariana Joseph: I have a passion for understanding how things function with an interest in diagnostic imaging and cardiovascular pathologies specifically in children and neonates. My ambition is to become a paediatric general and cardiothoracic surgeon. In preparation for this, I have commenced studies with an intention to obtain a medical degree. Once I have completed my medical studies, I plan to pursue advanced studies in public health and eventually establish a medical services centre. I have a passion for reading, writing, playing the violin, and engaging in community service projects. I am presently enrolled at the American University of Antigua College of Medicine, Antigua.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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