World Youth Skills Day: Promoting Skill Development Through Learning Disabilities Programs

The United Nations General Assembly announced the launch of World Youth Skills Day in 2014. It marked an opportunity for both children and educators to think about the skills needed for the rapidly shifting modern labour market. Employability skills have long been an important part of learning disabilities programs, where they are considered an important part of being able to live happily and independently.

What is World Youth Skills Day?

World Youth Skills Day is the brainchild of the United Nations. It takes place on July 15th every year. Young people between 15 and 24 make up more than 15% of the global population but are significantly more likely than adults to face unemployment. Those who do have jobs are often in more informal roles where they are not fully protected and do not have access to full benefits.

This highlights the importance of equipping young people with the skills they need to be successful in the workplace. The jobs market changes every year as society and technology progress, so if children are to master the skills they need, they are going to need a lot of help to learn and adapt. This is especially true for young people with learning disabilities, who face even more employment-related challenges.

That is the point of World Youth Skills Day; to explore different teaching and learning methods and to both listen to and provide resources for children and the people who educate them.

How is this relevant to Learning Disabilities Programs?

Focus on Independence and Employability

Modern programs for children with autism, intellectual disabilities and other learning difficulties often focus on helping their students achieve the maximum degree of independence. This includes skills in managing basic household tasks, but it can also involve preparing for employment. Having a good job means disposable income, and a wider social circle and can provide a sense of purpose. An unsuitable job, however, without the right support, can be a source of anxiety and distress.

Employability Skills & Cognitive Disabilities

Many employability skills are natural extensions of these programs for children with cognitive disabilities. Students often struggle with language and communication, building and maintaining relationships, and basic literacy and numeracy. All of these areas can be important if trying to apply for a job, let alone successfully working in one.

Specialized Employment Training

Preparation for employment may include constructing a resume and practicing for interviews. It may also include role-playing likely workplace scenarios, lessons in workplace etiquette, mastering health and safety and employment adjacent skills, such as travelling on public transport to reach work or learning how to manage money.

Work experience can provide good opportunities to apply skills in a real-world setting, with partner employers who have knowledge and experience of working with those living with disabilities and therefore know how to provide any extra support necessary.

Empowering Happy and Successful Lives

It is becoming increasingly recognized that children with learning disabilities can grow up to have happy and successful lives with the right support. World Youth Skills Day is an opportunity to focus on the specific difficulties facing these young people when they seek employment and develop specialized teaching methods and strategies to help them master the skills they need.

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