World Youth Skills Day 2018

World Youth Skills Day: why we should all help the younger generation

It was the late Witney Houston who sang “I believe the children are our future” and she was right!

world youth skills day

As a nation we are ageing. The most recent figures for the UK from the Office for National Statistics show nearly a fifth of our population is aged 65 or over and that number is going up. So we really should be nurturing the younger members of our society because, after all, they are the workforce of the future. The oldies among us need them to oil the wheels of the economy.

With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to encourage, and provide training and learning opportunities for, young people. So we’re delighted that on July 15 the spotlight will be put on this important topic as we mark World Youth Skills Day.

The day itself was created in 2014 by the United Nations to generate greater awareness of, and discussion around, the importance of technical, vocational education, and training and the development of other skills among young people.

In the UK, while we are currently enjoying relatively low unemployment, it’s notable that the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) is on the increase.

At Open Dawes Training, we’re asking ourselves why there is this disconnect between low jobless figures and higher unemployment among young people. What makes young people less employable? There must be more to it than a simple lack of work experience.

The solution must lie – as World Youth Skills Day identifies - in increasing and improving young people’s marketable skills, and that has to include communications skills. At Open Dawes Training we help people of all ages to develop important communication and presentation skills, so we know first-hand how much poor communications skills hamper a person’s development and career progression.

Cast your mind back …

Remember when you were a teenager, just leaving school, college or university and entering the job market? How were your communication skills then? Could you talk confidently, eloquently, effectively and persuasively? Or were you, like so many understandably gauche and bashful teenagers, rather tongue-tied?

Our Managing Director here at Open Dawes Training, Chris Dawes, readily admits that shyness and nerves hampered his ability to communicate effectively up to and including when he was at university, until he worked out a successful strategy to overcome this. As we know, he turned his new communications skills into a highly successful career. Now he and the rest of the team are delivering CPD accredited training to professionals, to help improve their communication, presenting, and media skills.

By helping our young people learn to communicate, we give them confidence to successfully enter the workplace, and then make a valuable contribution. And, if they have that bright idea for a new business or innovation, we give them the confidence to speak up about it, seek out support (and funding where appropriate), and become the next generation’s Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk. It is all too easy to think an idea is silly, has already been tried or thought of, or just won’t work. But maybe, just maybe, combining that idea with someone else’s ideas, knowledge, or experience could lead to the next big step or innovation! Innovation is only possible when it is unlocked and communicated.

“Even more so now as a father myself, I have a real issue with how society shuts down the voices, confidence and dreams of our youth”, says Chris. “When we are young, we sing, we act, we perform, we dream about becoming astronauts or racing drivers, etc. But we are told that we should ‘grow up and be realistic’. How dare we stifle those dreams and that energy and enthusiasm! Let’s speak to those astronauts, racing drivers, and innovators across the world and see which attitude paid the best dividends. So we should encourage our youth to communicate effectively, have the confidence to do so, and never stop dreaming and coming up with new ideas!”

What can we do?

If only national governments would put funding behind World Youth Skills Day and help upskill our young people. Surely more needs to be done to close the gap between their raw potential and their skills. As Witney goes on “Teach them well and let them lead the way”.

If you are a young person, or if you know a young person, who is interested in gaining fantastic, marketable communications skills to put him or her ahead in the jobs market, please get in touch.

To discuss how Open Dawes Training can assist with onboarding and/or the training and development of young people (including apprentices and graduates) within your organisation, please email our MD -

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