Young people across the globe are being confronted by all kinds of challenges. And the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t made things any easier. It is becoming more and more difficult for young people to find a good job. And at the same time, it’s becoming harder for them to remain in school when their families need to have food on the table. CNV Internationaal helps their local partners to give youth a voice. We see so much strength, enthusiasm, and knowledge in them. Together they can bring about sustainable improvements in the international labour market. Power for the future lies in helping these youth raise their voices.
What’s going on?
Let’s take Africa, for example. This “youngest” continent is experiencing a boom in population. 70% of the current population is under 30. However, the voices of this younger generation aren’t being heard enough. Unemployment among youth has increased dramatically in recent years. The continent has a large gap between the supply and demand of labour. This is in part due to an outdated education system, which pays little attention to providing practical skills and knowledge. Most young people therefore lack competencies needed in the world of work. Things like being able to work in a team and having good communication skills.
Youth are also poorly represented in the political arena and in the trade unions as well. Fortunately, we are seeing an improvement in the organisation of youth.
What does CNV Internationaal do?
Trade unions can’t generate work, but they should support youth and create awareness and attention about youth employability, especially in negotiations with the government (not only for legislation, but this is also the largest employer) and the private sector. CNV supports local trade unions in these responsibilities. They can help in the efforts to organise the youth by providing training programmes on how to organise, improve leadership skills, create social dialogue and lobby. CNV stimulates unions to engage in dialogue with the government and corporate culture on ways to improve the education system and set up internship programmes to prepare youth for the labour market. Unions also play a role in monitoring progress and ensuring that agreements are kept.
International webinars provide a platform where parties can exchange information and experiences in their work to improve the employability of youth and increase their voice at a political level.
Vera from CNV Youth travelled to Nigeria to attend the ITUC conference and then in 2020 organised the CNV Internationaal online event, Future of Youth. During this online event, young people from the Netherlands, Asia, Africa, and Latin America were able to share their knowledge and experiences.