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UNICEF, Barclays renew partnership against youth unemployment

By Joan Akello

In 2011, UNICEF reported that young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed compared to adults, and those in work are more likely to be in casual employment or jobs that are exploitative or hazardous.  Youth unemployment is a significant concern in almost every national economy according to The International Labour Organization.

A major difficulty in tackling youth unemployment is that many adolescents have insufficient skills that are relevant to the private sector. In many countries there is also considerable under-employment among young people. As a result, young people aged 15–24 form a quarter of the world’s poor. These issues mean that young people’s energy and talents do not contribute to building stronger economies.

UNICEF and Barclays yesterday renewed their Building Young Futures partnership for a further three years with an additional £5 million investment from Barclays.

In its second phase, Building Young Futures premises on tackling global youth unemployment by improving the prospects of 74,000 disadvantaged young people in Brazil, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Uganda and Zambia; strengthening their economic resilience against the devastating challenges of chronic poverty, inequality and changing economic circumstances.

The Barclays and UNICEF partnership was launched in 2008 and has so far given 600,000 young people across 13 countries improved education opportunities; financial, employment and enterprise skills; and support to manage their money.

Posted on the UNICEF website, the training will be adapted to support the needs of each individual country such as mentoring, counseling, work and placement opportunities, and entrepreneurship and employability training.

“Our partnership with UNICEF helps young people to develop the skills and confidence they need to gain employment and to become active participants in their local economies,” said Antony Jenkins, Barclays Group Chief Executive.

David Bull, Executive Director UNICEF UK, said: “The renewal of this partnership between UNICEF and Barclays builds on 4 years of working together to deliver economic empowerment and transform the lives of young people around the world. We’re confident we can help many more young people get a job, start a business and build the confidence and skills they need to create the future they deserve.”

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