Empowering young people on World Youth Skills Day

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 vocational training.

World Youth Skills Day Infographic Source: UNEVOC – UNESCO https://unevoc.unesco.org/wysd.

We are joining their #SkillsForAll campaign to support the inclusive view that “everyone should have the opportunity to discover and develop their talents”.

1 Why is WYSD an important day?

Unemployment 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 occasion 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.

Visit this page to find out more about the 2018 campaign ‘Learning and Working: Motivating for Skill Development’. 

3 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 comprehend 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.

3 World Youth Skills 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 enrolling 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

In our new courses, FOR REAL PLUS (for teens) and STUDIO (for adults), you will find lessons which focus on work, work skills and careers.


  • For Real Plus, pre-intermediate, Unit 9: Work
  • For Real Plus, pre-intermediate, Word skills, Units 9&10: Careers
  • For Real Plus, intermediate, Unit 6: Work
  • For Real Plus, intermediate, Viewing Skills, Unit 6: Work

Unit 6 in For Real Plus Intermediate written by Julia Starr Keddle and Martyn Hobbs. © Helbling Languages


  • Studio, pre-intermediate, Unit 3A: An uncertain future
  • Studio, pre-intermediate, Unit 9B: Work dilemmas
  • Studio, intermediate, 1B: The office
  • Studio, intermediate, 11A: The Cola Wars
  • Studio, intermediate, Language studio: An application letter

Here are three lessons that you can use from two other courses, SURE (for teens) and JETSTREAM (for young adults and adults).

  • 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 analytical framework. Paris, France: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/pisa/data/PISA-2018-draft-frameworks.pdf

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