Impressions of Kathmandu: A determined youth

YP_0513By Yves Perardel, ILO Statistician for the Youth employment program

There has been a return to peace in Nepal, after over a decade of civil conflict. The ILO’s Yves Perardel travelled to Kathmandu in preparation for a survey of young people and their experience of leaving school to enter the world of work. Taking his camera to the streets, he sees a city in transition, young people here, he says, have hope for growth and stability.

Liberia: Waging war on youth unemployment

Dennis Zulu

Dennis Zulu

By Dennis Zulu, Chief Program Officer, ILO Office for Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The room was filled with about 50 excited Liberian youth, all sporting white T-shirts with the inscription “Graduate” printed on the back.

The young women and men had completed three-month apprenticeships with enterprises in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. For many of them, this was the first time in their lives that they had received any form of training, let alone a certificate.

And many had hopes their new skills would open the door to a bright future. Continue reading

Helping Youth Get Jobs: A Sound Investment

Guy Ryder

By Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization




Global youth unemployment has become a reservoir of wasted talent and a tinderbox of frustration.

With 75 million young people jobless around the world, tackling this crisis must be a key priority.

It’s no easy task. Youth unemployment is the sharpest edge of the global labour crisis and it’s also the toughest nut to crack. But it’s a challenge we must meet head on.

We have tried for quite some time to make the case about learning from countries that have youth guarantee schemes, and we should turn up the volume on this one.

The idea is to guarantee that a young person who is out of education and out of work is given a job or training, as well as counselling and guidance.

This is not a utopia. Such programmes have proved quite successful in Nordic countries as well as in Germany and Austria.

In these times of crisis, governments are obviously concerned about the additional spending, but they should bear in mind the far higher cost that would come from young unemployed people permanently losing touch with the labour market.

Youth guarantee schemes are affordable. Our research shows that they would cost less than half of one per cent of GDP in Eurozone countries. It’s a sound investment on which one can get very good returns very rapidly. In Sweden, for example, almost 50 per cent of young jobseekers got work or training as a result of the guarantee; in Norway, the success rate is even higher.

There’s also a lot to be learned from Germany’s dual education system, which combines a workplace apprenticeship and vocational training. This is not something that can be replicated wholesale elsewhere, but there are certainly lessons to be learned, elements that can be applied successfully.

And we need to give more weight to active labour market policies. Job placement, public employment services, investments in skills – all of these areas are tremendously underexploited.

All the evidence shows that if a young person is out of work for a year or more at the beginning of their career, that will affect them throughout their working life. There’s no way back for most of them.

The first thing to do is to get jobs moving globally and making sure young people get a good start in their working lives.

There is an expense and a loss of production in keeping people out of work, so let’s attack the problem at the source. We must act urgently, we must act now.


This blog entry was also published in The Huffington Post on October 1 2012

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