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Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. Since then, World Youth Skills Day events have provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organizations, policymakers and development partners.

World Youth Skills Day 2021 takes place in a challenging context, with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the widespread disruption of the TVET sector. While vaccination rollouts offer some hope, TVET still has a long road to recovery, especially in those countries which continue to be overwhelmed by the spread of the disease. Youth skills development will face a range of unfamiliar problems emerging from a crisis where training has been disrupted in an unprecedented manner on a virtually universal scale.

Young people aged 15-24 are particularly exposed to the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. School and workplace closures are leading to learning and training losses. Major life-cycle transitions are made difficult if not impossible, including graduation from general education or TVET at secondary or tertiary level, residential autonomy, and labour market insertion.

TVET has a key role to play in fostering the resilience of young people. It is crucial for all stakeholders to ensure the continuity of skills development and to introduce training programmes to bridge skills gaps. Solutions need to be reimagined in a way that considers not only the realities of the present, but also the full range of possibilities for the future.

Virtual events

World Youth Skills Day 2021: Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic

15 July 2021, online, 11:00 am to 12:30pm EDT

World Youth Skills Day 2021 celebrates the resilience and creativity of youth throughout the crisis. A virtual event, organized by the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Portugal to the UN, the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, UNESCO and ILO, offered an opportunity to reflect on skills that are needed today and for the future. Participants took stock of how the TVET sector has adapted to the pandemic and recession, how TVET institutions can participate in the recovery, and discussed priorities they should adopt for the post-COVID-19 world.

Read more about the event here

View the recorded event on


Final YEM Regional Forum: Project results and impact

15 July 2021, online, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm CEST

UNESCO held the second and final Youth Employment in the Mediterranean (YEM) Regional Forum on 15 July which highlighted project results and impact, based on the implementation of its three key components in the region:

The forum marked World Youth Skills Day, and included representatives and direct beneficiaries from the participating countries; relevant TVET stakeholders and partners; regional and international TVET experts, and youth representatives and organizations.

The YEM project is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNESCO from 2018-2021, supporting youth employment and entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean region by improving skills anticipation and TVET systems.

Access the concept note and agenda here

Watch the Final YEM Regional Forum

TVET Youth Stories

The COVID-19 pandemic has reached a scale that could hardly have been anticipated one year ago. As young people continue to showcase their resilience during this crisis, UNESCO-UNEVOC called on TVET youth to share videos of which skills they think will be most important in the post-pandemic era.

Sergio Mejia from Colombia

Christina Shibu from India

Tariq Taylor from Trinidad and Tobago

Micaela Perez Servin from Paraguay

Idowu Cephas Timilehin from Nigeria

Muhammad Haseeb from Pakistan

Yousra Assali WorldSkills Champions Trust Regional Representative for MENA

Violeta Hoitu from Moldova

UNEVOC Network activities for WYSD 2021

A selection of WYSD activities from the UNEVOC Network:

TVEC, Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, TVEC has responded to national calls for the improvement of TVET in areas such as remote learning, e-assessment, and more. Specifically, TVEC launched a series of webinars for WYSD which highlighted some of the crucial issues in TVET emerging from the crisis, and provided strategies and solutions for addressing these challenges.

FTE, Iraq

The Foundation of Technical Education launched an exhibition on 12 July featuring handicrafts and ceramics made by students of the Applied Arts Institute, as well as innovative scientific projects from the Institute of Technology.

NTA, Trinidad and Tobago

On World Youth Skills Day, the National Training Agency shared a series of TikTok videos that highlighted the TVET journeys of local youth in Trinidad and Tobago. This activity showcased the creativity and resilience that students have shown throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Tknika, Basque Country, Spain

TNINKA is looking at the future of skills training and trying to ensure that young people in their community are prepared to function in an ever-more connected world. On WYSD, they organized a conference around the theme of internationalization and the role it can play in improving TVET in the Basque Country, Spain.

SZPT, China

Shenzhen Polytechnic ran a workshop on Programme and Curriculum Transformation for Post-Pandemic Youth Skills Preparation from 5-9 July. More than 2000 leaders and teachers from over 100 institutions participated in the activities, which aimed to ensure that young people are prepared for the new world of work following the COVID-19 pandemic.

YCT, Nigeria

Yaba College of Technology organized two online events for WYSD. The first activity was a digital skills assessment which aimed to explore the basic and specific digital skills needs of YCT students. The second activity was an interactive discussion centered around the theme “Think skill, build smart, innovate for the new normal” and focused on innovative ways to advance skills development.

SENA, Colombia

The National Training Service held a joint event alongside SENATI, a UNEVOC Centre in Peru, which featured a number of key topics on the emergence of TVET after the pandemic. Namely, the discussion focused on the present and future of skills development, as well as the skills needed for trainers to effectively guide students in this new era of TVET.

HEART/NSTA Trust, Jamaica

The HEART/NSTA Trust organized a virtual conference for WYSD. The conference featured panels on the future of skills, exhibitions from TVET institutions, vox pops and student skills showcasing booths. The aim was to highlight the skills and creativity of students throughout the ongoing pandemic.


The PSS Central Institute of Vocational Education organized a webinar on 15 July that focused on the impact of changing labour markets on youth skills, how to address future skills needs and how TVET systems should respond to challenges that have emerged in different sectors of the economy.

NSU, Pakistan

The National Skills University Islamabad organized a session on 15 July which celebrated the resilience and creativity of Pakistani youth throughout the pandemic. The keynote speech focused on the inclusion of students with disabilities and other speakers included youth skills award winners and Prof. Mukhtar, Vice Chancellor of NSU.

Skills in Action Photo Competition 2021

Are you an amateur or professional photographer with an interest in youth skills? Don’t miss your chance to enter the UNESCO-UNEVOC Skills in Action Photo Competition! This year's theme is The future of youth skills.

Photos should highlight the innovative aspects of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and showcase how TVET is equipping young people with skills for a sustainable future.

View the results of the photo competition 2021


Technical and vocational education and training for disadvantaged youth

Due to its close links to the labour market, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) can play an important role to improve job opportunities and livelihoods for young people, and in particular for disadvantaged youth. However, this pot ...

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WYSD 2021 Posters

Download these posters to display at your World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) event.

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WYSD SkillsinAction Photos

View the gallery of SkillsinAction photos
UNESCO-UNEVOC's Flickr gallery features albums of the photo entries from the previous SkillsinAction Photo Competitions along with albums of other events. 2020 SkillsinAction Album - https://unevoc.unesco.org/i/759 2019 SkillsinAction Album - ...

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More info

Access additional information about the UN resolution on World Youth Skills Day and UNESCO-UNEVOC’s previous celebrations to mark the occasion through the links below.

United Nations resolution on WYSD

UN Website: UN World Youth Skills Day

UNESCO-UNEVOC's work on youth employment and entrepreneurship

Archive of previous WYSD celebrations

UNESCO-UNEVOC WYSD Celebration 2020

UNESCO-UNEVOC WYSD Celebration 2019

UNESCO-UNEVOC WYSD Celebration 2018

UNESCO-UNEVOC WYSD Celebration 2017

Get in touch

UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre
UN Campus, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1
53173 Bonn, Germany
Tel. +49 228 8150 100

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