New ITU, ILO campaign targets to reach 5 million youth with digital skills by 2030

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have launched a campaign to train 5 million youth globally by 2030. The announcement was made at the 2017 World Summit on the Information Society Forum () held on June 12 – 16, 2017, in Geneva.

The “Digital Skills for Decent Jobs Campaign” is part of the “Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth”, a UN system-wide effort for the promotion of youth employment worldwide.

“ITU is proud to be one of the founding members of the ‘Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth’,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The ‘Digital Skills for Decent Jobs for Youth Campaign’ seeks to encourage the global community to provide youth worldwide with digital skills training in order to foster decent and inclusive employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Acquiring digital skills is crucial for young job seekers worldwide as it can lead to higher salaries and better employment conditions.”

Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) said, “Digital skills will connect young people with unprecedented job opportunities and contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Estimates show there will be at least 10 million vacant jobs globally for people with advanced digital skills between now and 2030.”

The campaign will engage with governments, the private sector and other stakeholders in the information and communication technology sector to realize commitments to train young men and women in basic and advanced digital skills. The campaign will also encourage widespread sharing of data on job openings for youth with digital skills, and help to identify training programmes and resource mobilization opportunities.

The “Digital Skills for Decent Jobs for Youth Campaign” is a multi-stakeholder partnership for the promotion of youth employment worldwide, through which 22 United Nations entities are joining hands in support of the realization of the 2030 development agenda.

ILO and ITU are leading the Campaign as part of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth in order to foster decent and inclusive employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Training in- and out-of-school youth with basic and advanced digital skills is expected to connect young people with increased job opportunities in the digital economy, leading to innovation, higher productivity and competitiveness, expanding markets, access to work and entrepreneurship opportunities.

The digital skills needed to succeed in the digital economy include:

  • Advanced digital skills: related to technology development such as coding, software and app development, network management, machine learning, big data analysis, IoT, cybersecurity or blockchain technology;
  • Basic digital skills: related to the effective use of technology, necessary in most professions. They include web research, online communication, use of professional online platforms and digital financial services;
  • Soft skills: skills necessary to all professionals to ensure collaborative and effective work in the digital economy. They include leadership, communication and teamwork skills, client-orientation, among others.
​​Ministers of ICT, Labour and Education, national governments, the private sector, training providers, Academia, NGOs, other members of the UN family as well as other interested parties are actively encouraged to participate in various ways. These they can do by organizing digital skills development programmes for youth (e.g. coding bootcamps or mobile apps development trainings); running special basic or advanced digital skills development programmes for young women; training young entrepreneurs on how to use ICTs to grow their businesses and learn the business, technical and soft skills they need as digital entrepreneurs as well including digital skills training in apprenticeships and educational and professional development programmes across sectors. They can also contribute by training education providers how to adapt school curricula and incentivize professional development, entrepreneurship activities, on-the-job learning and job insertion of youth; and provide financial support to existing digital skills development programmes or the creation of new ones.