Young people must get a chance for decent work, David Arkless says
Advisor to the US Department of State was speaking at an education conference in Dubai
David Arkless, Advisor to the US Department of State said that we need to give all of our young people a chance for decent work and dignity in the future.
“It is about finding the right opportunities for young people and giving them a vehicle or a process by which they can get the skills to get good, decent, dignified work. When you give young people those opportunities and find them dignified, safe, decent work, social tension falls rapidly,” said Arkless.
Arkless was speaking at ‘Shaping the future of education,’ an education conference, put together by The Abrahamic Business Circle, a Khaleej Times-partnered event, that took place in Dubai over the weekend.
The topics that were discussed by speakers were education technology, intercultural behaviour, e-learning, education and immigration, as well as education and investment.
Arkless, a former global president of ManpowerGroup, was speaking on the topic ‘Work, dignity and a chance for our young people.’
“We need to focus on this because we need to give all of our young people a chance for decent work and dignity in the future,” he added.
Arkless, also an advisor to the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said that during his time with ManpowerGroup, they placed about 18 million people a year into jobs, gave the example of Education For Employment (EFE), a non-profit organisation that trains young people for jobs across the Middle East and Northern Africa.
“A remarkable gentleman whom I met 20 years ago, Ron Bruder, put a foundation together called Education for Employment. This organisation he created worked on principles that I think are still absolutely relevant to what we are doing here. He said that if we want to create jobs, we have got to stimulate economies. If we want to stimulate economies, we have got to have the right skills to put into those economies. We also need to find young people, who, in their thinking, are very, very flexible with regards to a suggestion of maybe a different kind of training, different kinds of skills. He then got me on board as a partner and the reason he did that was he said: ‘Look, if you put 18 million people to work every year, you must know how to do this.’ And we went on a journey of discovery which ended up with 26 different chapters of EFE throughout North Africa, Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Palestine, Syria, etc.
“And the principle of what we did was very straightforward. It was let’s first of all find out what employers want in terms of skills from young people. Then, secondly, do this forecast regularly so that we always know what is coming in the jobs’ market. And then, we are going to make an offer to unemployed young people to say that ‘you come to us, we train you in this, this, this or this, free of charge, and by the way, we already have a job for you.’ This is an incredible magnet for young people’s engagement. If you could say to them ‘we have got a job, we are going to train you how to do it,’ they are incredibly motivated,” the 67-year-old explained.
Arkless revealed that through EFE, they are now placing more than 5,000 young people in jobs.
“The interesting thing about this is that now, we are placing more than 5,000 workers a year into jobs in countries where people say you can’t find jobs in these countries. But we do because we engage very closely with employers. The other thing that we do is we have a forensic assessment of young people, their current skills and potential skills and how we close the delta between the two,” he said.
“We mostly work in Arabic countries, and he is Jewish from New York. It is an incredible example of how to contribute and reduce tension by giving people meaningful work, especially young people,” Arkless added.
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