"Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the government-imposed lockdown, I had very little knowledge on online programmes. The new situation created by COVID 19 compelled me to learn new skills that enabled me to work even during the crisis, using information and communications technology", said Riya Shrestha, one of the participants from the UNlocking Skills programme.
As universities and colleges were closed due to the risk of COVID-19, young people were seeking platforms and opportunities to utilize their time to gain new skills. A latest online survey conducted by ILO report showed that about 38 percent of youth in Nepal were uncertain of their future career prospects, with the crisis creating uncertainties.
Considering this situation, the UN Youth Group in Nepal – from UNDP, UNFPA UNICEF, UNV, UN Women and WHO – came up with an online skills training package to help young people gain some of the key skills they would need to prepare themselves for jobs, volunteer work, or even further studies.
The package offered capsule courses on a set of soft and hard skills relevant in the job market, such as project design, communications and report writing. A total of 120 participants joined the training programme that was divided into three clusters with nine different training sessions spread over a total of 14 days. Over 1,500 applications were received from across the country and among them, 270 were selected for the training.
To ensure inclusiveness and meaningful participation of all participants in the training, close captions, translations, and sign language interpretations were provided to those with specific needs. Young people from all seven provinces were selected and youth from the diverse group such as LGBTQ+, Muslim, Dalit, and persons with disability were prioritized..
"Introduction to the mural and annotation tool of zoom was very useful. Now I can easily use new tools for effective communications”, Nasala Maharjan, one of the participants added.
Addressing a virtual graduation ceremony organized for the trainees, Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UN Resident Coordinator said, “I have no doubt that the skills you have learned over the past months will not only help you in your career but also allow you to become leaders in realizing the agenda 2030 and Nepal's vision for the Sustainable Development Goals.”