Skills-matching is the low-hanging fruit of youth job creation. It is a no-brainer for policymakers to ensure the youth whom their massive investments in schools, TVET and universities are learning the skills that employers need – and that future growth and competitive advantage requires. It is less than promising when the CEO of one of India’s largest employers, Infosys, tells his government that, “Sadly, only about 13% of graduates from this country’s universities are qualified to be employed by my company…” It is likewise unwise for British universities to graduate 5,000-plus architects every year for less than 1,000 vacancies in the profession. Government-led skills-matching can iron out these expensive mismatches.
IYF’s entra21 programme: entra21 provides disadvantaged youth aged 16 to 29 in 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with job training and placement services. The programme emphasises alliance-building among schools, governments, the private sector and youth themselves.
Designed to be evaluated and refined with a view to being scaled up through government partnerships, the initiative includes comprehensive training in technical and life skills based on demonstrated labour market and employer needs. From 2001 to 2011, more than 135,000 young people benefitted from participation in entra21, and employers were highly satisfied with graduates as interns and employees. entra21 has become a model for all IYF’s employability initiatives. By using advanced monitoring and evaluation tools, the initiative produced a series of studies that expanded IYF’s understanding of how to achieve scale, reach hard-to-hire youth and use technology effectively.