From education to employment: Bridging the gap
In Latin America and the Caribbean, 20 percent of youth — 20 million people ages 15 to 24 — are neither working nor in school. These young people often feel excluded from the traditional workforce and can turn to street trading, bartering for services and crime. What can be done to help youth become more employable?
FHI 360 and Results for Development broke new ground in answering this question through a 10-month investigation of the transition from secondary education to work in Colombia, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. The analysis looked at how to bridge the skills gap that prevents youth in these countries from obtaining employment. The study explored which skills are needed for employability, which skills are currently acquired in the formal education system and which delivery models are effectively being used to build youth skills and employability.
Researchers analyzed and mapped current supply (the education system) and demand (employers) for the skills acquired in secondary and tertiary education. Past research focused on which skills employers were seeking and neglected the role and influence of educators in preparing youth. This study incorporated the perspectives of teachers, students and employers, enabling researchers to identify and better understand the differences between the groups. Taking multiple perspectives into account and generating this breadth of data is rare in skills gap research.
The report reveals current trends in the school-to-work transition and offers useful recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders on how to bridge the skills gap in these countries.
Photo credit: iStockPhoto.com/andresr