Looking Forward: Youth Skills in the Workforce

Written by Maria Olivia Laurent, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

We’re halfway through the year! Some of us may be graduating soon, ready to kick off our career, maybe starting a new project, and so many other things to look forward to. As we finish this first half of the 2022 book, we’re celebrating what we’ve achieved so far and the new beginnings waiting ahead. But that’s not the only thing we’re celebrating today. July 15 is the World Youth Skills Day, acknowledging the importance of equipping young people with the necessary skills for the workforce. Commemorated every year since 2014 by the UN, World Youth Skills Day events have facilitated programs and discussions between the youth and various institutions about the implementation of TVET (technical and vocational education and training). TVET focuses on acquiring technical and vocational skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, eliminating gender disparity and ensuring access for the vulnerable. So how can we implement it in our youth development? 

Education and training are central to the achievement of the 2030 SDG agenda to ensure inclusive quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. It calls on government, organizations, and private corporations to incorporate the TVET into their programs. We all know how badly Covid-19 affects our economy, but do you know which age group suffers the most? Young people. And ironically, young people are supposed to be the future of our labor markets, so what now? In 2020, global youth employment fell by 8.7% compared with 3.7% for adults (International Labor Organization, 2021). In Indonesia, the youth unemployment rate was at 16.5% and continues to increase due to the pandemic. Young people are literally being pushed and rushed to work in these turbulent waters. They tend to work lower-quality jobs, suffer labor market inequalities, and have a difficult school-to-work transition. Not to mention gender inequality too, with how women are more likely to be underemployed and underpaid. 

As such, vocational skills development is a crucial key factor to assist youth with learning necessary skills through open, free, and globally accessible training platforms. It’s not just about addressing the economic demands but also tackling social and environmental issues such as creating equal opportunities and improving industrial sustainability. With effective TVET, young people can have better access to work-based learning, networking, job opportunities, and other technical and transferable skills across all industries they want to work in. 

But before we jump into how we can develop ourselves better, let’s look at what skills are in demand for young people in 2022. Over the last few decades, soft skills have become as important as hard skills, and some recruiters even say that they are what differentiates one candidate from the other despite all having similar qualifications. The first soft skill in every list is communication adaptability, which is crucial in managing teamwork. It’s followed by technical and digital literacy, critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence. As for the hard skills, it’s a little difficult to pinpoint as different industries have different demands, but some of the more general skills include: machine learning, product management, data analysis, design, and digital marketing. 

Now, what can we do to grow our skills with little to no funds today? Check some of these out.


MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are free online courses provided by many universities and higher institutions through a free open platform. Anyone can enroll, learn new skills, and earn official certification. Pretty good for your resume, right? I enrolled in Coursera and applied for financial aid, so all my courses are free and available for download. You can also adjust your own learning schedule and even retake your quizzes. Other platforms are edX, Udemy, Udacity, RuangKerja and Skill Academy by Ruangguru, etc. 

Entrepreneurship and mentorship workshops

If you don’t like learning on your own, maybe you’re better suited to enroll in these workshops with other participants. Many business schools and institutions offer a wide range of theoretical and practical coursework that you can attend in student groups. You can practice public speaking, communication, and presentation skills with your groupmates. Finding a mentor is also relatively easy these days, you can directly contact them or find them through various mentorship communities on social media. 

Internship and volunteer work

This is a great way for students to get a taste of the workforce before graduating. Plus, it makes your resume stand out compared to other fresh graduates if you have prior working experience. As an intern or a volunteer, you can learn various job duties, or even try out some roles different from your educational background, and gain valuable soft skills and connections. Internships and volunteering are also relatively not as taxing as a full-time job as they’re focused on learning, so you can do this while still in college. If you’re interested in working or volunteering in Project Child Indonesia, make sure to check our social media because next month we’re opening the new batch!

This pandemic has indeed negatively affected young people, and we’ve seen many of us suffer unemployment and inequalities. We can’t just rely on the situation to improve. We have to rely on ourselves to make our way in this world, by improving our skills and challenging ourselves outside our comfort zone. There are many opportunities out there. You just have to seize them.


World Youth Skills Day. (2022). United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-youth-skills-day

TVET definition: the TVET meaning and what it stands for. (2021, February 8). TVET Journal. https://tvetjournal.com/tvet-systems/tvet-definition-the-tvet-meaning-and-what-it-stands-for/