Over to you!

The three-day YMCA Youth-Led Solutions Summit on the Future of Work finished yesterday. But the work has now started for the participants who want to join or form a Solutions Team to respond to the employment needs of young people in their own communities.

The last plenary, hosted by Karren Fetalvero from YMCA Philippines, focused on the Creative Economy.

Guy Ryder, Director General at the International Labour Organization, highlighted the importance of collaboration: “It is crucial that we work together”. Congratulating World YMCA on joining the Decent Jobs for Youth initiative, he urged young people to take action. “There is no time to wait: the world needs to invest in a human-centered recovery from this crisis. It needs to focus on achieving resilience through the pursuit of social justice.”

Creative solutions to address inequalities

A panel led by Kevins Randiek then examined different aspects of the Creative Economy.

“We have been promoting the Creative Economy as a new source of economic growth and development. It contributes 3% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The creative industry is a strategic sector, which can boost sustainable growth and employment, and make the most of the potential of young people”, said Carolina Quintana, Partnerships and Network Coordinator of the Creative Economy Programme at UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

CiCi Rojas, President of the Missouri marketing agency Tico Productions and a member of the World YMCA Executive Committee, shared how, “there are many creative working opportunities in the field of Sport, like broadcasting games, audio production or graphic design”.

“We have seen that young people are the future change makers”, added Jakhya Rahman-Corey, Director at the Swarovski Foundation. “With our programme ‘Creatives for Our Future’, nine cohorts of young people will design creative solutions to address issues such as access to water, to education or to sustainable living”.

Emilio Granados Franco, Head of Global Risks and Geopolitical Agenda at the World Economic Forum, then listed four global imperatives for empowering youth: “We need to promote 21st Century skills so that we are preparing youth for the jobs for tomorrow. We must adapt schools. We must use digital tools to increase accessibility to Mental Health support. And finally, we need to enable youth participation in governments, on company boards, and in international organisations.”

Am enjoying every moment of the summit, it is so loaded though we finding it difficult to choose which one is amazing because all are awesome and happening at the same time (Hezron Z.)

Taking action

After the last round of breakout sessions, the closing speakers turned to the next stage of the YMCA Youth-Led Solutions Initiative: the Solutions Teams themselves.

Kehkashan Basu, Founder-President at the Green Hope Foundation and the host of the first YMCA Youth Led Solutions Summit – on climate change – in October, said : “Innovation, care and creativity must be the cornerstone for creating green and sustainable jobs. We do now have the opportunity of creating a new normal”.

Betsabé Véliz Merino of YMCA Peru and Serena Huang of YMCA Tainan in Taiwan, two members of Solution Teams created from the October 2020 YMCA Youth-Led Solutions Summit on Climate Action, shared online their stories and the impact on their local communities of the recycling initiatives they launched. “We have learned the value of innovation”, they said.

To close the Summit, Daisy Moran a volunteer from Y-USA and the World YMCA Youth Board Member at the Global Youth Mobilization, said: “This event has inspired us to innovate, and to become creative about the ways we support each other and the communities around us. It has taught us an important lesson about being interested in others. We need to enable more young people to engage more profoundly in decision-making, and make sure that all communities are connected, regardless of where you are in the world. We need to be ready for a new and changing job-market.”

What’s next?

World YMCA President Patricia Pelton concluded the event: “From the bottom of my heart: thank you all and well done. But this is only the beginning.  This is the moment when the term ‘youth-led solutions’ really kicks in, when we hear the things you want to do to meet employment challenges for young people in your communities.”

She indicated a sum of some USD 150,000 available for seed-funding projects, and set out timelines.

  • By 10 July, project proposals received.
  • Selected projects will be announced at the beginning of September.
  • By the end of August 2022, the projects are expected to be finished. They will be presented at the YMCA World Council in Denmark, in July 2022.

So now it’s time for you to get an idea, to form a team and to apply. Best of luck to all the participants!

Breakout sessions Day 3

  • Roundtable Discussion: Seizing opportunity and doing what inspires you most with Blossom Accelerator
  • Workshop: A livelihood experts introduction to a toolkit on youth-led market assessments for practitioners
  • Workshop: The Global Opportunity Youth Network: Tapping into the creative economy for youth employment
  • Roundtable Discussion: ‘A university degree isn’t the only pathway to career success’
  • Breakout Panel: Youth employment in a post-pandemic world – exploring policy solutions to empower young people
  • Workshop: How to use diversity and inclusion to foster innovation
  • Workshop: TRANSform Peru with Kaory: A theory of change approach for practitioners
  • Workshop: Universal Music Group – how ‘°1824’ fuels the global music industry’s future
  • Breakout Panel: Youth, Jobs in the Creative Economy, and the Future of Work
  • Workshop: What digital skills do companies look for from Generation E? With Junior Achievement and Avande.

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I’m happy to be part of this wonderful forum. Watching from Sierra Leone (Andrew Banjoe M.)