In the case challenge, the participants will be solving a case in a team of three. The challenge is divided into 2 rounds; preliminary and final round. In the Preliminary Round, the teams will be evaluated based on your team’s presentation slides and case presentation video submitted. The top three finalist teams will be moving onto the final round, where they be virtually presenting your solution on the spot to the whole audience and honorable judges.
The theme for the case is ‘Youth unemployment in COVID-19 fallout’. During the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has tremendously affected the way people live. It has triggered a massive disruption of labour markets, having a disproportionate impact particularly on the employment of youths. With the lack of experience and the tendency to rely on insecure informal jobs, youths are being more intensely affected by the impacts of the prolonged crisis than adults. Furthermore, facing discrimination and unequal starting points in life, some youths are even less likely to be employed than others. Therefore each team is asked to answer this question ‘What can you do to help youths gain employment opportunities in order to have a better standard of living over a 1-year time horizon?’
To aid participants with their case, Mr. Felix Weidenkaff shared his expert insights about youth unemployment at the current times. Mr. Weidenkaff is an employment specialist from International Labour Organization (ILO), Decent Work team for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific. It was stressed that ‘Having decent work, not just any job, is critical for social inclusion and poverty reduction for youth across the world’. The aims of a decent work agenda are to create rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunity and strengthen the connection between the government, the employer and the worker. The unprecedented impact from COVID-19 crisis on the labor market in Asia and the Pacitic were then addressed. The market was firstly impacted due to the national lockdown. Considerably high number of people have become unemploy, and those who are still employed are earning less.
The video title ‘Youth hit hard by COVID-19’s economic fallout’ by ILO was played. The video presented that youth was impacted more from the pandemic compared to older and more experienced workers because they are usually the first one to be laid off and because of the ‘non-standard’ work status such as part-time work with no sick leave or unemployment benefits. Mr. Weidenkaff further stressed the the shocks from COVID-19 crisis that affect youth employment on a global scale;
Youths usually have spent less time on the job and they work in less protected jobs, leading them to experience more job loss.
Education directly affects employability for youth. Therefore, due to COVID-19, school closure, delayed exam, inability to experience working environments such as apprenticeship or internship, unequal access to digital technologies, youth’s employability has been negatively affected.
School to work transition is more difficult during this economic crisis.The reason is that there are less vacancies in the market and youths have to compete with more experienced workers who have been laid off.
Youth employment in Thailand was addressed next. It was stressed that in Thailand preparing youth for the transition to the labour market will be a key part in inclusive socio-economic recovery. The inequality in Thailand that resulted from income inequality, gender disparity or discrimination, centralization need to be addressed so that education system can equip all youths with the skills for the transition to work. The skills that the youth should have are not only specialized skills, but fundamental skills such as literacy and numeracy. Mr. Weidenkaff concluded that the COVID-19 crisis has a large impact on youth employment. But, it could be a trigger needed for labor market and education reform in Asia Pacific and Thailand to build a ‘better normal’.
After hearing Mr. Weidenkaff insights, the participants then spended the next 5 hours working on a solution to aid the problem of ‘youth unemployment in COVID-19 fallout’ in a preliminary round. The three top performer teams will get to present their solutions in the final round and have a chance to implement their idea with the winning prize.