This paper focuses on the determinants of the labor market situation of young people in developed countries and the developing world, with a particular emphasis on the role of vocational training and education policies. We highlight the role of demographic factors, economic growth and labor market institutions in explaining young people's transition into work. Subsequently, we assess differences between the setup and functioning of the vocational education and training policies across major world regions as an important driver of differential labor market situation of youth. Based on our analysis, we argue in favor of vocational education and training systems combining work experience and general education and provide some policy recommendations regarding the implementation of education and training systems adapted to a country's economic and institutional context.
Youth Unemployment and Vocation Training focuses on the creation of good jobs for the young. The first part reviews the main factors influencing youth unemployment and the transition into the work force, bringing together evidence on demographic issues, economic growth and their interaction with institutions. Stressing the difference between general education and vocational education and training, the authors differentiate between four types of education and outline differences in the skills they convey, their places of learning and their transferability across occupations and firms.
The second section provides an overview of young people's situations in major world regions, with a particular emphasis on the role of training systems and complementary active labor market policies. The authors adopt a broad understanding of regional clusters reflecting similar challenges with respect to youth unemployment on the one hand and institutional factors influencing the situation of young people on the other.
Youth Unemployment and Vocation Training concludes by reviewing the most pressing policy challenges in different world regions and providing policy recommendations. The authors argue in favor of promoting vocational education and training tailored to labor market needs, all the while taking into account specific conditions found in a given national or local context. While good education and training can contribute to economic productivity and social cohesion, vocational education and on-the-job training with young workers and companies also need to involve governments, social partners or other societal actors in order to be stable and effective. Given major differences in the institutional setup in different parts of the world, the authors present options for implementing vocational training under largely differing economic and institutional conditions.