Helping young people make the transition from education to work – the country’s first youth info club

07 May 2014

imageUNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton launches the country's first youth info club (Photo: UNDP/Ljubomir Stefanov)

”Young people today are more connected and better informed than any generation before”, said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “But to make the most of this potential, we all need to work together to create more job openings. Not only more jobs but better quality jobs that tap into the creativity of young people. That is why we’re here today and why I welcome this innovative initiative to help this country’s youth make the most of all available opportunities.”

The UNDP Resident Representative was speaking earlier today at the launch of the first Youth Info Club in the premises of the Faculty of Economics in Skopje. Together with her on the podium before some 100 students was Dime Spasov, the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. “This is a great way of mobilising young people,” said the Minister. “The info club has been designed to meet the special needs of students entering the world of work, providing them with real time information on all available opportunities and delivering guidance on the best ways to make the best of these opportunities. “

A total of four youth info clubs will open throughout May and June this year at universities in Skopje, Tetovo, Bitola and Stip. Their aim is to strengthen the links between potential employers and new graduates. The clubs will not only provide students with career advice and up-to-date info on all the latest employment opportunities, but also offer guest lectures with career advice from private companies, public administration officers, NGOs and international organisations. The info clubs will be managed by 2 NGOs--Mladi Info and Koalicija Sega--which have several years of experience in advocating for the needs and interests of young people.

“I am especially pleased to see that the info club that we are officially launching today will be managed by young people,” said Louise Vinton, “Since they are the ones who know best their own interests and the challenges young people face today. They will ensure that the clubs’ services are tailored to the needs of their peers.”

The youth info club initiative is part of a wider campaign by the Government and UNDP to tackle youth employment—one of the country’s most pressing socio-economic problems. This campaign has involved a redoubling of efforts to generate and develop innovative solutions to mobilise young people and ease their transition from education to work.

This month also saw the launch of a new UNDP global strategy--Empowered Youth, Sustainable Future-- that puts youth at the centre of all the work done by UNDP all around the world. “The strategy,” explained Louisa Vinton, “is centred on the vision that when youth are informed, engaged and empowered to contribute to sustainable human development, then families, communities and nations grow stronger and are better placed to withstand the challenges of the world today.”

Current employment statistics are not encouraging. Young people make up 37 percent of the global working-age population but 60 percent of the total unemployed.

The strategy states among other that increased attention is needed to ensure young people’s effective transition from school to decent jobs. The creation of decent jobs, the reduction of discrimination in the workplace, and the creation of a basis for fair wages are all imperative, as is the need for quality education and training that provide graduates with the skills employers seek.