Announcing the 2017 Solve Global Challenges

Youth, Skills and the Workforce of the Future


Question: How can disadvantaged youth learn the skills they need to prepare them for the workforce of the future and thrive in the 21st century?


Challenge Overview

The beginning of the 21st century has been marked by rapid advances in technological innovation—from smartphones and big data to artificial intelligence and machine learning. While new technology can generate jobs and increase labor productivity, it also creates job displacement and widens the skills gap. Today’s generation of young people now face a world in which nearly half of today’s jobs globally—around 2 billion—are at risk of becoming obsolete due to automation and technological advancement in the coming decades.

A job for life is now a thing of the past. The World Bank estimates that 4 out of 5 children entering primary school today will eventually hold jobs that do not currently exist. These fast-changing realities leave ripple effects on communities worldwide, but the world’s poorest are likely to be the most adversely affected by these market shifts.

The ability to acquire new skills throughout life, to adapt, and to work flexibly will be of particular importance. So too will be technical, social, and critical thinking skills. Quality learning opportunities must be deployed by governments, cross-sector industry leaders, and local communities alike to encourage learning experiences that adapt to today’s world, drive income generation, prevent worsening inequality, and provide a prosperous future for all. Building on Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, how can disadvantaged children and young people develop the skills they need to participate in the workforce of the future and thrive in the 21st century?

The Solve community aims to unearth and support innovative solutions to guarantee disadvantaged young people under 24 from low socio-economic (income, wealth, and education) backgrounds are equipped with 21st century skills and prepared for the workforce of the future. To do so, the Solve community can:

  • Suggest innovative learning technologies to help increase skills development for disadvantaged youth around the world
  • Present new educational models and concepts to improve quality of learning for young people in the 21st century
  • Propose tools and strategies to teach skills that will drive entrepreneurship, critical thinking, and adaptability
  • Identify innovative solutions to ensure equal access and inclusion of all genders and people with disabilities to quality education and skills development

For more information on the different prizes, including the DFAT Indo-Pacific Development Prize, eligibility criteria and application details, visit Solve’s website.

Submission deadline: 01 August 2017