A stage for Young People and Practitioners
Over 400 participants from 42 African countries took part in the conference. They represented a broad range of stakeholders from all levels – higher education, TVET schools and secondary schools; civil society and youth organizations; the business community; employment service providers; and policy making bodies. Youth representatives played a major role in the conference in the conference sessions, as well as in the development of the policy recommendations. Another outstanding role was given to practitioners in education and skills development with the third conference day exclusively dedicated to showcasing good practices.
With over 50% of participants under the age of 35, young people were strongly represented in the audience as well as among the speakers in the conference sessions. A special role in the proceedings played the members of the AU-EU Plug-in Initiative: Leading on from the 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit these 36 young fellows from Africa and Europe were selected and mandated to work on a Youth Declaration for the upcoming 5th AU-EU Heads of State Summit in Abidjan. In preparation for the summit, the fellows participated in the conference as part of an exercise to develop an understanding of the workings of the African Union that would inform their proposal development process. At the opening ceremony, the group presented a short skit which highlighted the real-life challenges in the lives of young people in Africa. Additionally, two of the fellows were part of the taskforce that drew up the conference policy recommendations.
In ATJ’s effort to provide a platform for successful and innovative approaches at all levels of education and skills development, practitioners were given high visibility at the event. The whole third conference day was thus dedicated to the showcasing of good practice examples in fostering youth employment and entrepreneurship through multi-stakeholder partnerships.
In a “market place” format, 30 practitioners exhibited their projects in booths which allowed them to meet and exchange with interested conference participants. The format provided an excellent arena for networking, engaging in one-on-one dialogue, and learning from experience.
Additionally, an “Open Lab” format gave room for short presentations on a given topic or project followed by interactive discussions or online toolbox and knowledge sharing platforms.