Building a Competitive Women’s Workforce
John Trew (Plan International, Bangkok)
Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. The presenter asked the audience what it felt like to get that first job? It gives hope. There are 17 million young people around the world that are unemployed. It is unevenly spread and includes parts of the Middle East, Asia and South America. The quality of work is a concern – 156 million workers are living below the poverty line. Nearly 22 per cent of young people are not in employment, education or training (NEET).
Girls and young women tend to be excluded from economic activities completely. Again the figures are uneven depending on the area of the world. For example, sub-Saharan African, Latin America and Caribbean it is much higher. Women are paid less and much more vulnerable to trafficking, exploitation and other forms of gender-based violence.
It will take 217 years to close the workplace gender gap. Young people in this situation are very unhappy. The impact of young people can have one of the greatest positive impacts on economic growth. However, it can also be a destabilizing factor. Untapped potential is costing the global economy a significant amount.
There are many barriers for young women just to get the door of training. No wonder the figures for female attainment are high! What are we doing in our training programs to help women address the barriers? One reason women are outperforming is because there are significant hurdles they have overcome to get the training and their first job.
The speaker provides simple steps to help young women enter and stay in the workforce and have career mobility over time. For example, including 21st Century skills; inclusive TVET; strengthening resources and safety nets.
There are also recommendations for changes in laws, policies, systems and services.
Skilling for the 21st Century: What We Learn from International Comparisons
Stephen Lamb (Victoria University, Australia)
A synopsis of the results from an International Study of City Youth (ISCY) is presented. ISCY is an international longitudinal study of 42,000 10th Grade Students in a 15 cities of the world to find out more about student journeys through school into further study, work and life beyond school. The presenter outlined the participating cities and the elements that were measured. Comparisons of results for the 15 cities were made for: Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results for Mathematics and Reading skills; dispositions towards learning; levels of engagement in learning; skills for learning social/emotional factors, and the segregation and system design differences between social and academic.
The presenter noted that the results varied particularly regarding the level of skills; the levels of engagement; social segregation and academic segregation. Students sense of belonging, hope, purpose, and self-efficacy also varied across cities. Different cities have different types of options for school; some have TVET as an option, some don’t; this impacts the perception of and participation in TVET.
Four Case studies of cities with evident features were presented Ghent, Montreal, Melbourne, Hong Kong. A conclusion is that systems work in different ways and it is important to recognize the behavior of systems and plan accordingly.