The theme for this year’s World Youth Skills Day is “Reimagining Youth Skills Post Pandemic” and is focused on the changing landscape of technical and vocational training (TVET).
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, noted, “While vaccination rollouts offer some hope, TVET still has a long road to recovery, especially in those countries which continue to be overwhelmed by the spread of the disease. Youth skills development will face a range of unfamiliar problems emerging from a crisis where training has been disrupted in an unprecedented manner on a virtually universal scale.”
The U.N. added, “TVET has a key role to play in fostering the resilience of young people. It is crucial for all stakeholders to ensure the continuity of skills development and to introduce training programs to bridge skills gaps. Solutions need to be reimagined in a way that considers not only the realities of the present, but also the full range of possibilities for the future.”
The Salesians offer more than 1,000 vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools around the globe. This training provides youth the practical skills to prepare for employment and helps them lead productive lives while becoming contributing adults in their communities. These programs go beyond educating. They also assist youth with making connections within industries and preparing them for the process of searching, finding and retaining employment.
“We know that access to education lays the foundation for a better future for all youth and that work must continue even as we face a global health crisis,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “In many countries around the globe where poverty is high and access to education is not universal, it is crucial that Salesian missionaries continue to offer technical and vocational training to as many youth as possible to ensure that they have access to long-term stable employment.”
To mark World Youth Skills Day 2021, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight technical and vocational education that provides life-changing education and skills training for poor and at-risk youth.
The collaboration between the Salesian Vocational Training School in Sesto San Giovanni, a town near Milan, Italy, and Yamaha Motor Italia established during the 2019-20 school year has already brought about a positive impact. The partnership with Yamaha is a flagship professional training program at the Salesian Vocational Training School. Director Francesco Cristinelli noted, “Youth have the opportunity to have access to cutting-edge automotive workshops and to work on the latest generation of Yamaha-branded vehicles.
Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Centre located in Banquerohan, Legazpi City, Philippines, is helping a new generation of farmers prepare for the future. The Salesian Centre is a technical vocational school offering skills training and a farm development program to help youth and local farmers achieve self-sufficiency. As part of the centre, Salesians have seven hectares of land for agricultural production, known as the Don Bosco Demonstration Farm. On the farm, Salesians teach agricultural production and proper utilization of agricultural equipment. There is also the Don Bosco agricultural multi-purpose cooperative which facilitates microfinancing to farmers and coordinates the use of tractors and other mechanics for land preparation, planting, weeding, marketing and training. Part of the agricultural production is raising pigs and chickens. Currently, Salesians have facilities for 14 sows and two buildings for 1,000 chickens each. The chickens produce eggs to sell to generate an income as part of the training program in entrepreneurship.
At the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Juba, South Sudan, students have received scholarships to help afford their education and continue their studies, thanks to funding from Salesian Missions donors. One student, Ayany Pamela, said, “This program has given me the courage to return to school after completing my secondary education. I had not been able to continue in school because of financial problems. After noticing that women were given this opportunity, I became motivated because it is now affordable for me. This program has contributed much in my personal life by allowing me to obtain knowledge and skills. Without it, I cannot imagine how I would have continued my education or found a good job.”
Bosco Global, a Spanish Salesian organization, with the support of the Municipality of Malaga, operates the Foyer Jean XXIII Education and Formation Centre in Kara, Togo. This centre provides education and support to 183 youth at risk of social exclusion and ensures youth gain an education and find and retain employment.