ILO conference backs co-ops to tackle youth unemployment

17 Jul 2012

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The International Labour Conference has launched a call for action to tackle the youth employment crisis; and said that co-operatives can provide solutions.

A draft report was released recently following the meeting in May, which was based on the International Labour Organization's previous document, “The Youth employment crisis - A time for action”.

The report from the Committee on Youth Employment included guiding principles on how to respond to the crisis and co-operatives were described as key actors in the process of recovery. The report concluded that promoting youth entrepreneurship could encourage growth within sustainable enterprises such as co-operatives.

It also stressed that co-operatives can encourage initiatives and provide opportunities for young people to create their own enterprise and become self-employed. And encouraged governments to enable a favourable environment for social economy, small and medium enterprises and co-operatives. The document also called on governments to introduce students to co-operative concepts and include information about co-operatives within national curricula.

The Committee underlined that employers, including co-operatives, should place a strong emphasis on providing appropriate training for young people, engaging with governments in developing youth entrepreneurial programmes, and promoting young entrepreneurs’ networks within their organisation. The ILO’s role within the process would be to continue to provide technical assistance to co-operatives.

The important role of co-operatives in providing employment for young people was discussed at the Youth Employment Forum held at the ILO between the 23 and 25 of May in Geneva.

One of the speakers was Mi Ling Chng of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation, a 27-year-old Senior Marketing Executive also provided examples of how co-operatives in Singapore provide jobs for young people whilst financing the creation of more co-operatives and offering training to spread co-operative awareness.

The Conference on Youth Employment was part of the ILO’s Co-operatives Branch initiatives, which aim to promote local economic development through co-operatives.

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