A recent study by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on youths and the future of work looked at how youths envisage their working lives within the next 10 years. Many of those interviewed viewed their future with fear and uncertainty. 

Almost 64 million youths are unemployed and one in four youths are neither in the job market nor in education or training.  This is within the context of a dearth of job opportunities and the challenges of the informal economy, which is the situation faced by many youths. 

Youths want jobs with decent pay that open up opportunities to a better life, training that leads to such opportunities and a social system that helps them achieve their aims. They also want to make their voice heard. 

While many youths are doing well and succeeding, many others are stuck in circumstances where they have no opportunity, no guidance and no reason to grow. 

It is to everyone’s detriment if the energy and creativity that youths have are not nurtured. The creation of safe spaces for youths on the job market is a way forward in the creation of an environment where youths can learn to tackle a range of challenges, from employability to entrepreneurship, organisation and respect of their rights. 

These safe spaces need to be inclusive and need to be respective of and ensure the youths’ dignity irrespective of race, sex, religion, nationality or ideology. This requires innovation, continued commitment, concrete action and, above all, contact with youths. 

Government, trade unions, employers and their organisations, as well as communities and others can do a great deal to support and develop the spaces that provide youths with physical and psychological security to learn, develop their skills and share their ideas and experiences within a constructive environment.  Through social dialogue, entities can communicate with youths regarding issues that are central to their lives and their future prospects, with the aim of identifying adequate solutions to meet their needs.