World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) has been observed as an official UN Day on 15 July since 2015. UNESCO – UNEVOC join their forces and resources to raise awareness about the importance of skilled work, technical and vocacational training.
We are joining their #SkillsForAll campaign to support the inclusive view that “everyone should have the opportunity to discover and develop their talents”.
Why is WYSD an important day?
Unemployement and underemployment among young people aged 15-24 is an issue all over the world. Study the WYSD Infographic for facts and figures below.
On this day we can appreciate the hard work of skilled workers, highlight their achievements, and encourage them to set new objectives. This day is also a good occassion to look at the various aspects of youth skills, what training and education they can receive, and what the reasons are for the high unemployment rates.
In this video, Shyamal Majumdar, Head of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training explains what work has been done and what can be achieved through hard work.
How are these work skills related to language and literacy skills?
To be able to develop any kind of skills, learners need to have sound literacy and language skills. Their performance during the training process as well as on the job will highly be affected by how well they can communicate and make meaning through various sources and channels. From reading the instruction manual to assemble a desk through learning from multimedia material to learning about metal or wood, and training other workers around them, our learners will need to rely on complex literacy skills, and not just technical skills.
The 2018 OECD definition of Reading Literacy has responded to the social, economical and technological changes in our world, and the 2016 updated framework proposes a new definition of the construct of reading literacy. It is understood as “understanding, using, evaluating, reflecting on and engaging with texts in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and to participate in society” (OECD, p. 11). Another important aspect of the 2018 PISA reading framework is the inclusion of digital reading literacy skills which enable students to read and interact with digital texts.
In order to understand how these The 2018 PISA understanding of ‘text’ is a crucial step in guiding us towards visual literacy skills. According to this interpretation, text includes
“all language as used in its graphic form: handwritten, printed or screen-based. In this definition, we exclude as texts those purely aural language artifacts such as voice recordings, as well as film, TV, animated visuals and pictures without words. Texts do include visual displays such as diagrams, pictures, maps, tables, graphs and comic strips, which include some written language (for example, captions). These visual texts can exist either independently or they can be embedded in larger texts” (OECD, p. 13).
As language teachers we need to consider working with various types of texts in our classes. Learners receive training and education in any sector through different types of texts. In a language class, the best thing we can do is introduce digital, visual and multimodal texts just as well as written text and see how our students comphrened them.
Check out the Motivating for Skills Development: A Campaign Package, prepared by UNEVOC. You can see how video and written materials can be used to explore a topic.
World Youth Skill in the Classroom
We propose that you introduce the topic of world skills in a classroom discussion. Some of your high school students might not consider enroling in vocational training, and others might not know enough about the diverse jobs other young people do all over the world. Learning about these skills and training opportunities might open new doors in front of many students.
The UNEVOC Campaign Package above can be a good start to explore the opportunities offered by different sectors.
Talk about jobs in the classroom
- SURE, pre-intermediate: Module 4, Nice work
- SURE, intermediate: Module 6: Part-time jobs and personal growth
- JETSTREAM, pre-intermediate: Unit 3, Lesson 1: Work and its problems
OECD. (2016). PISA 2018: Draft analyitcal framework. Paris, France: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/pisa/data/PISA-2018-draft-frameworks.pdf