Catalysing change through a targeted framework
S4YE 2015-2020 Strategic Plan
Marking International Youth Day, S4YE is pleased to launch its five-year strategic plan for 2015-2020. The plan outlines the approach and key areas of work that the coalition will adopt over this five-year period. To download a copy of the Strategic Plan, click here.
The S4YE coalition sets out to achieve dramatic change in youth employment over the next five years. The following graphic illustrates S4YE’s overall framework and how we will be able to achieve the intended impact.
S4YE’s role is to advance and accelerate the development of solutions that have the greatest potential to deliver high quality productive work for young people. S4YE’s unique approach to fulfilling this role is to:
- Link: S4YE will link public, private, and other actors to integrate lessons learned, identify effective solutions, and accelerate impact on the ground through cross-sector collaboration and innovation.
- Learn: S4YE will pursue a compelling learning agenda both by collecting and disseminating knowledge across the broad youth employment landscape, and through a targeted portfolio of high-impact initiatives. S4YE will generate and share open knowledge and data, as well as related practical insights across the globe.
- Leverage: S4YE will leverage its knowledge and partners to catalyse the promotion of private, public, and civil sector innovations and operations that scale promising youth employment practices.
The approach of linking, learning, and leveraging will continue in an integrated cycle. Every learning opportunity becomes an opportunity to leverage further resources for youth and to bring new partners in to operations. Every linking opportunity becomes another opportunity to learn new lessons, or reinforce existing ones. And every leveraging opportunity becomes a chance for further learning and collaboration.
In order to work towards S4YE’s goal, the coalition and its partners have prioritized the following four areas for immediate action.
S4YE will operate through its partners and network, working in the Frontier Areas to promote increased collaboration. S4YE will cultivate cross-sector partnerships with key stakeholders that support the execution of our coalition’s goal, including: civil society partners, government officials, foundations, private sector entities, international organisations, and young people. S4YE will mobilise a Private Sector Advisory Group that will support and guide deliverables in this priority, specifically in the development of further guidelines, tools, and case studies.
Expand Robust Evidence Base
Learning around the four Frontier Areas is the foundation of the evidence-based advocacy and research agenda of S4YE. The coalition will learn from a number of different sources including evaluations of interventions, rigorous diagnostic work, private sector-specific work, research analysis, and project results.
The coalition will collect and curate a broad set of evidence that is of sufficient rigor for all sectors, noting that rigor and standards are utilised differently by individual sectors. Equally important to the coalition’s work is to provide a safe forum for experimentation, especially given that much of the programming in the four Frontier Areas is either new or saturated, resulting in concerns around sharing “unsuccessful” stories. S4YE will work in areas that are not yet tested and could be perceived as risky. Reporting on “failures in the field” in the four Frontier Areas will be actively encouraged by the coalition.
Increase Resources for Program
Leveraging key partnerships and collective knowledge to provide more and better jobs for young people is the ultimate aim of the coalition. Two critical means of achieving this are by using existing resources more effectively (through scaling up proven solutions or not investing in interventions where evidence on effectiveness is insufficient) and by mobilising new resources.
The resources available to any one sector to address the challenge alone are inadequate—to address the scale of the youth employment challenge, we will need to align resources and leverage all available opportunities. One of the central questions S4YE asks of its partners and network is: how to best align our collective resources to complement each other’s actions and achieve more than we could individually?
For the size and complexity of the challenge ahead on youth employment, we know that current implementation models, current knowledge, and current reach are insufficient. We need to innovate upon both how we act and what we act upon if we are to be able to tackle the problem for this generation. While enormous emphasis has been placed on technology, we must also be prepared to introduce innovative ideas to our practices, processes, content base, and financial streams.
Check out our 2015-2020 Strategy to learn more about how S4YE is acting upon these Priorities.
S4YE will focus on four Frontier Areas that purposefully shine a lens on key trends that are heavily relevant to the S4YE network and key stakeholders in the youth employment ecosystem today.
Digital Age Impact
The S4YE coalition will explore the impact of Digital Age technologies on youth employment and how young women and men can be supported and better prepared to respond. This includes learning about the impact of the Digital Age on the formal and informal sectors as related to the access and delivery of information and services, as well as generating knowledge about efficiencies and effectiveness gains that can be made in the delivery of services and programs, including those through vocational training. It also includes better understanding the comparative impacts of the Digital Age on women and men. The effects of the Digital Age on public employment agencies and their services will be investigated. S4YE will also seek to understand the changing nature of employment relationships given new technological trends and their tangible effects on young workers today. In addition to the need to develop digital skills, S4YE recognizes that the importance of basic skill development cannot be underestimated in achieving the coalition’s goal.
The S4YE coalition will improve opportunities for young women and men, including those on the lower end of the skills spectrum, to access quality training on skills that are relevant to labour market requirements. This will be done by examining market demand and trends, and engaging employers to understand the current gap in skills and how they affect their organisations and the economy. This may include technical, non-cognitive, leadership, digital, and entrepreneurship skills. S4YE will work with its multi-sector partners to address these skills gaps, through high-impact and demand driven solutions.
Entrepreneurship & Self Employment
The S4YE coalition will support entrepreneurship and self-employment interventions for young women and men, ensuring that they are increasingly built on lessons from field operations. S4YE will collect and disseminate knowledge about entrepreneurship and self-employment and how to ensure sustainability in practice in a changing world. Understanding the informal sector, the often precarious work systems of youth in vulnerable households, and identifying the potential for entrepreneurial activity within the youth population will be addressed by this Frontier Area. The coalition will seek to strengthen entrepreneurial skills and competence for women and men and better understand how to make young people aware of specific opportunities for starting up a business, including understanding around existing value chains and the opportunities for linking young women and men into them. S4YE will also seek to understand success factors affecting small and micro enterprise development - especially critical for informal economies lacking access to mentors, capital, and markets - especially insofar as how they relate to women and men.
The S4YE coalition will work to improve the number of quality jobs young women and men are engaged in and better understand the incentives for employers to improve working conditions in a changing world. Quantity measures of unemployment do not always reflect the quality of jobs; unfair pay, temporary and part-time employment, lack of social protection, gender dynamics and more need to be better understood. The coalition will address this issue by engaging employers and civil society partners to understand how to improve the total number of quality jobs for youth at scale.
The following are tools that S4YE will draw upon to enable the coalition, its partners, and its broader network to support youth employment around the world. Each of these Enablers will be applied to S4YE’s Priorities and Frontier Areas in collaboration with multi-sector stakeholders.
Access to networks
Access to actors and regional networks: No one stakeholder within S4YE can achieve the ambition alone. S4YE is reliant on partners and network supporter’s relationships with stakeholders across all sectors. S4YE will support existing regional networks to increase their impact, and focus on growing its global network.
Youth Participation: S4YE knows that young people must be meaningfully present in the operational and strategic guidance of the coalition. Youth participation will include onboarding representatives to the Board of Directors, inclusion of youth in S4YE’s Technical Advisory Group and Private Sector Advisory Group, enlisting youth networks to join S4YE’s regional and global networks, as well as communicating and engaging youth on projects and key products.
Quality Assurance: Generating quality and robust evidence is a stated outcome of the S4YE. A consistent and robust evidence base will ensure that S4YE is honest and true to its purpose. S4YE will work to ensure that its learning and partnership work is rooted in quality analysis and action, with appropriate quality standards and checks in place to ensure that the S4YE brand becomes synonymous with quality.
Data: Generating robust evidence requires quality data. Without quality data, the strength and integrity of the evidence base will be compromised, as will the knowledge management function and best practice tools that the coalition will develop. Partners’ commitment to quality data collection and availability will be paramount to S4YE’s outcomes.
Technology: Technology has catalysed the penetration of digital information around the world. Trends in technology affect youth employment and create new opportunities for engagement, skills training, and access to employment. S4YE is committed to understanding and leveraging the role of technology in taking youth employment solutions to scale.
Shared Ambition to Scale: Scaling solutions is at the center of the S4YE operations and strategic vision. The diverse partnerships in S4YE all share a common ambition to learn, develop, collaborate upon, and implement effective solutions at scale. This shared ambition is the foundation of the S4YE coalition’s priorities and agenda and includes the participation of employers in addressing the challenge at hand.
Local Projects: S4YE understands the need to engage a critical mass of projects in order to generate learning and better understand what works and what does not. S4YE is heavily reliant on its network to report findings and learn lessons from projects being executed in real time. Without projects to generate learning in action, S4YE cannot progress towards its goal.