Better forecasting of skills needs is key to easing youth unemployment

08.07.2015 – Social and Human Sciences Sector

Better forecasting of skills needs is key to easing youth unemployment

© UNESCO / K. Daelman

The second workshop on Skills Forecasting in the Mediterranean Region ( 9-10 June 2015) gave a new boost to what has been achieved at the level of youth skills and employment throughout year 1 of the Networks of Mediterranean Youth project (NET-MED Youth).

UNESCO Headquarters in Paris was the meeting point, on June 9-10, 2015, for six labour market experts from the NET-MED Youth beneficiary countries and skills forecasting experts from agencies involved in the field of skills anticipation (International Labour Organization (ILO), the European Training Foundation (ETF), France Stratégie, UNESCO-International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) Pôle de Dakar, the European Center for Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP)).

The experts discussed the Regional Synthesis Report*’s findings and conclusions on the feasibility of conducting an exercise on projections of future skills needs in Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. They also discussed optimal ways to move forward in collaboration with implementing staff and representatives of national partner institutions.

“Regular skills and labour market anticipation are key features of policy development in many countries across the world today,” says labour market expert Robert Wilson, a renowned international specialist in skills forecasting who designed the methodological approach for the analysis carried out under the project.

Besides Youth Policies and Media, the Employment component is the third major axis of NET-MED Youth. Young women and men account for a large proportion of the working age population in the countries benefiting from the project. They face many challenges in their transition to decent jobs.

The work carried out under this component is intended to enhance the role played by youth organizations interested in skills development, employment and business creation issues, through the reinforcement of their capacity to advocate and participate in the policy making process. NET-MED Youth also reinforces national institutions’ capacities to develop evidence-based and inclusive skills development policy planning, by conducting forecasts of future skills and labour market needs and by getting involved in discussions with national stakeholders, including youth.

“Skills forecasting is a robust technical work,” says Borhene Chakroun, Chief of Youth, Literacy and Skills Development Section at UNESCO Headquarters. “But interpretation and decision-making is a social construct that should be realized in partnership; and this partnership is essential to success. It requires the voices of policy-makers, social partners and civil society from all beneficiary countries, along with the expertise of regional and international organizations.”
Next steps include the mobilization of an international expert team who will provide technical support and capacity building to stakeholders gathered at national levels. Youth organizations are invited to be part of those national teams of stakeholders, and discuss the results once the projections of future skills needs are out.

Now that positive results have been achieved in the first year with the help of national and international experts to determine the feasibility of developing skills projections, NET-MED Youth gears up to both implement this work with local experts in order to obtain an unrivalled knowledge-base, and further involve youth organizations in national decision-making dialogue about youth unemployment issues so their ideas and efforts can join those of policy makers and social partners.

* Soon to be released on NET-MED Youth website.


Networks of Mediterranean youth (NET-MED Youth) is a three-year project (2014-2017) implemented by UNESCO and funded by the European Union. It benefits youth organizations from countries along the eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean Sea. NET-MED Youth aims at improving the access and effective participation of youth in developing, revising and implementing national strategies and policies affecting them, building the capacities of and enhancing networking among youth organizations and increasing their effective interaction with the media and ICT, enhancing their inclusion in research and policies related to employment, and harnessing the collective potential of youth in affecting democratic transition towards active citizenship, political participation, economic contribution and social inclusion.

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