Editor's Comments: I commend the efforts of NAO (New Employment Opportunities) to close the gap between the skills of young people and the demand among companies for qualified personnel by addressing these problems in a systemic manner and not simply through isolated and ad hoc efforts. Their focus on scaling up effective models of vocational guidance, training, and job-placement services in an effort to increase the quality and relevance of job placement services and job opportunities for poor and vulnerable youth is the right approach to make major strides in overcoming the skills gap. So often the efforts are in a silo and do not achieve the results that participants expect. The skills gap is not an easy problem to solve; it takes strategy, effective execution and perseverance. It will be interesting to hear the results from the 12 participating countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Recently, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Clifford Blake spoke about the fact that the police and the courts are unable to keep up with the number of at-risk youth in some communities.
"When we look at what is happening in the schools, were it a production line and we were producing criminals at the pace that they are being produced, and they are basically being thrown into the society, the supply would far outpace the demand that we have for them," he said.
Data coming out of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) support Blake's remarks.
Currently, there are approximately 148 million youth, ages 15 to 29, in Latin America and the Caribbean, who make up 40 per cent of the working population.
However, one in five youth does not work or study; one in three is at risk; the youth unemployment rate is as much as three times higher than the adult rate in some countries; and six in 10 jobs held by youth are informal.
At the same time, half the companies in the region are struggling to find qualified workers, especially for technical and trade jobs, because candidates lack the necessary life skills or abilities for that enable them to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Read the whole Article.