9 July 2024
14:00–16:00

Beirut time

Regional Consultation

Investing in the future: youth focus group

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  • Online
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ESCWA is organizing a focus group discussion for young people to explore the questions of its recent human capital survey. The survey has gathered information from over 420 respondents, representing every Arab country, on the opportunities, challenges, social barriers, skills gaps, and other considerations around studying and working in the field of sustainable energy or related sectors. 

Insights from this focus group will be highlighted in the upcoming ESCWA publication, “Investing in the Future: The Role of Human Capital in Enabling the Just Energy Transition”.

Outcome document

1. Educational Reform and Access:

   - Address the shortage of qualified teachers and update curriculums to include green and environmental education.

   - Emphasize the importance of STEM education, particularly for girls, and ensure equitable opportunities and funding access for young people, especially in rural areas.

2. Skills Development and Training:

   - Enhance AI and IoT skills for better data analysis and efficiency in the energy sector.

   - Develop non-technical skills such as communication, negotiation, teamwork, and leadership through practical simulations and exercises.

   - Increase availability of internships, apprenticeships, and mentorship programs to provide hands-on experience and industry insights.

3. Policy and Regulatory Support:

   - Implement and review policies that support renewable energy technologies, and ensure feedback from young professionals is considered.

   - Encourage inclusive hiring policies for young people, women, and those with disabilities.

   - Governments should introduce policies promoting diversity, equal opportunities, and financial support for sustainable energy education and projects.

4. Innovation and Research:

   - Invest in R&D to address challenges like the intermittency of solar and wind power.

   - Promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the region, particularly in advanced renewable energy technologies.

   - Utilize small-scale energy solutions and share best practices across Arab countries to aid the energy transition.

5. Awareness and Advocacy:

   - Conduct awareness campaigns about career opportunities in the sustainable energy sector and the specific skills required.

   - Raise awareness about the importance of sustainable energy systems and their impact on a sustainable future.

   - Encourage young people to participate in policy discussions and advocate for their needs in the global energy transition.

6. Youth Engagement and Empowerment:

   - Provide platforms for youth to generate and share new ideas, and ensure their voices are heard in policy and decision-making processes.

   - Facilitate one-on-one mentorship and post-financing support for youth-led startups to help them navigate logistics, banking, legal, and accounting processes.

   - Focus on local issues relevant to the youth's context to guide their studies and future careers, fostering a resilient and capable workforce for the sustainable energy transition.

  1. Education Breakout:

    1. Challenges: Shortage of qualified teachers, outdated curriculum, security concerns, rural inequalities, health issues, lack of awareness about renewable energies, and language barriers. 
    2. Solutions: Implement policies and focus on STEM education, update curriculums, foster stakeholder dialogues, upskill teachers, ensure equitable opportunities and funding, and improve rural infrastructure. Emphasis on linking social issues with energy education.

     

  2. Employment Breakout:

    1. Challenges: High training costs, additional certification needs, unclear career pathways, and lack of skills awareness.
    2. Solutions: Invest in free training, increase internships, establish mentorship programs, provide financial support, adopt inclusive hiring policies, support renewable energy regulations, and conduct awareness campaigns. Emphasis on policy review and financial awareness.

     

  3. Innovation and Skills Breakout:
    1. Challenges: Need for technical and non-technical skills, integrating new technologies, and financial costs. 
    2. Solutions: Enhance AI skills, develop non-technical skills through simulations, promote research, implement IoT, raise awareness about new technologies, support startups, address energy and water scarcity, improve data collection, promote crowdfunding, and focus on sustainability. Emphasis on personality strengths and energy's role in water management.

       

The open discussion emphasized the importance of simulation and real-world learning for empowerment and accountability. Investment in innovation and R&D for renewable energy is crucial, particularly to address the intermittency of solar and wind power. There is a need for access to software that visualizes energy systems and more education on SDGs and future fuels like clean hydrogen. Bridging the gap between academic research and workplace needs through specific programs is vital. Small-scale energy solutions and leveraging initiatives like ESCWA's REGEND are key. Promoting gender equality, diversity, and equal opportunities through policies and involving youth in policy discussions and training programs is essential for a sustainable energy transition.

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