Youth skills development for women

Youth skills development for women

The current state of youth skills development

The UN reports that although more young people are staying in school instead of entering the labour market at an early age, more than 200 million young people, a large proportion of which are women, are either unemployed or have a job but live in poverty.

The Facts

  • Globally, one in five young people are NEET: Not in Employment, Education, or Training. 75% of NEETs are young women.
  • Almost 40% of young workers in developing countries live on less than US$3.10 a day.
  • Three out of four young workers are employed in the informal economy, which typically is not decent or meaningful work.
  • Despite increasing school enrolment, millions of young people, especially women, still find themselves with neither a job nor an educational opportunity.

Teachers, trainers, and other educators play an essential role in helping youth engage in the labour market, their communities, and societies. They offer guidance, motivate, and support youth with their entry into the working world. 

Here at Canadian Feed The Children (CFTC), we want to recognize and celebrate all the teachers and trainers we partner with around the world for setting this generation of young women up for success! Keep reading for stories from Ghana, Uganda, and Bolivia.

Ghana, Business skills training

This year, 20 young women are participating in the Ghana Youth Skills Development workshop to increase their knowledge and skills in business setup and management. Some of the skills they are learning include market research, bookkeeping, money management, and customer care.  

The program uses interactive teaching tools and one-on-one coaching to empower participants to “move out of their comfort zone" so they can establish or expand their own businesses. 

Ramatu is currently participating in the program and is proud of her growing independence.

I did not know that I can start a business with little or no money, and that the greatest resource I need to start a business is "me."

The current cohort of the Ghana Youth Skills Development Workshop posing with their beaded products

Not only does she have new skills to provide for herself and her family, she is excited about paying it forward!

“Now that I have skills in beads making and knowledge in business, my business is running well. I am no longer an unemployed, dependent youth, but very productive and independent and even able to provide money to support my siblings, I am training my sister (during her school holidays), and very soon I may employ other youth as my business expands.

Clement, a co-trainer of the program, believes that while formal, higher education is valuable, skills training must not be undervalued. Without skilled labour, we wouldn't have essential products like shelter, books, and clothes. He believes teachers and trainers play an important role in helping young people find their passion.
The importance of skills training to individual, national, and global development, and human transformation cannot be over-emphasized.  Skills training may be the only key to releasing the passion and talents of some individuals and they must be given the needed environment to unearth their potential.

Uganda, Hairdressing training

Esther is an ambitious young woman who recalls not being able to perform as well as she had hoped academically. She feared having to resort to risky jobs in the informal economy like many youth in her community. She was unsure of how to best apply herself until she received advice and support from her teacher and trainers at CFTC’s partners in Uganda.

Through their guidance, I realized that hairdressing was what was right for me. It’s what my heart wanted. Because of the interest I had in hairdressing, I tried as much as possible to pay attention to my instructors at HUYSLINCI and that’s actually why, I think, I was able to emerge the best student at the end of our course.”

She is now bringing home 20,000 Uganda shillings a day and is proud to be contributing to raising her family’s financial status!

The guidance that I got from a staff member of HUYSLINCI is what I am riding on right now. She gave me strength and encouragement that hairdressing would serve my interests better and this is slowly becoming true.

Bolivia, plumbing training

Thanks to CFTC donors, a plumbing program was conducted in Bolivia to bring more women into the skilled labour trade. Participants also had the opportunity to join the association of women entrepreneurs in the construction sector.

Jhovanna, the program instructor, noted how most women have been taught to believe that installing and uninstalling bathrooms and showers is men’s work, but it’s very beneficial for young women to learn these skills so they can provide for their own households and sell quality services.

The internships have been good for young people. It is a lesson that you take with you in the future, that does not expire, that you are going to teach, if it is possible, when you are older. When these young people are older, this teaching will be carried in their hearts. It is not something material.

Women practicing their skills during plumbing training in Bolivia

Thank you to our family of donors for funding these important youth skills development programs around the world. Together, we are helping young people build a brighter future for all!

In our podcast First Comes Food, we go on a journey through Indigenous food forests in Saskatchewan, farming communities in African countries and early childhood community programs in Bolivia to meet the people who are growing food security for everyone. Their stories may surprise you.

Listen to First Comes Food, now streaming on our website and wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.