Youth empowerment through world youth skills day
July 15th is World Youth Skills Day. The aim of World Youth Skills Day is to encourage youths to be self-employed through skill acquisition. To be skilful is to be creative, to be artistic, and inventive. A skilful person is indeed a resourceful person. Most of the producers we have in our society today are those who have developed their skills.
World Youth Skill Day is meant to create awareness on the importance of acquiring skills, such as carpentry, tailoring, building, plumbing, computer training and other skill acquisition programmes, as a possible way of achieving personal success and fulfilment. Skills and jobs for youths feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal. For instance, the SDG target 4.4 calls for a substantial increase in the number of youths and adults who have relevant skills. Through skill acquisition, individuals, communities, and countries can create a more prosperous future. Moreover, it is a more realistic solution to the perennial problem of unemployment.
Ever before the UN declared July 15th as World Youth Skills Day, the Hebrew Bible presents God as the most Creative Being the world has ever known. Within six days, He created the world, out of nothing. After creation, “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen 1:31) When God saw all that He created, He was fulfilled. God gave man dominion over the works of His hands. He put all things under his feet (Psalm 8-6). With this ability given to man by God, he was able to construct, design, erect and even re-create all kinds of skilful works in the world.
God has always encouraged youths to be creative, skilful, self-reliant, fruitful and productive. From the very beginning of creation, God wanted man to be creative and skilful. The Lord God said to Adam, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Adam was never employed and he never received any salary from any government or any organisation, but he survived through his natural skills.
The Old Testament presents skill and crafts as the most precious gifts from the Most High God. In the book of Exodus 35:30-33, the Lord God entrusted Bazalel with special abilities, so as to work in a creative manner on the construction of the tabernacle of God: “Moses said to the people of Israel, ‘See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood in every skilled craft.”
When God entrusted Bezalel with artistic abilities, He expected him to pass on these abilities to others. The Lord “inspired him to teach Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer… by any sort of workman or skilled designer” (Ex 35:34-35). It was the Lord that gave Bezalel these skills. God ordered him to teach these skills to others. This is the beauty of continuity, which is gradually dying off in our generation today.
Most our youths are no longer interested in skills. They are only interested in quick money and white-collar jobs. Unfortunately, those kinds of job are not available. People pay through their nose before they could get the few available sloths. That is what unemployment is all about.
Artistic and Skilful work, on the other hand, are very much available and affordable. They are the most lucrative and rewarding job anyone can comfortably do. The psalmist declares, “By the labour of your hands you shall eat.
You shall be happy and prosperous” (Psalm 128:2). Child of God, as long as you are skilful and hardworking, you will never die of hunger. Instead, you will be prosperous. You will be healthy and fulfilled! And it shall be well with you in Jesus name – Amen!