‘Youths must continue to be heard, influence policies in sports industry’

There is a need to strengthen, and perhaps in some cases, shake the status quo in the sports industry.

So said Susana Puerto-Gonzalez, Senior Youth Employment Specialist at the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

She added discussions needed to take place on how youths can access jobs and the skills demanded by the sports industry.

“We can (then) think about creating opportunities to equip young people with those skills and to also understand how the transition into a job in the sports industry happens; how to make the transition transparent, more equal, inclusive and successful,” added Puerto-Gonzalez, who is also the coordinator of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.

Puerto-Gonzalez shared her views during the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) / ILO Open Forum: Promoting Decent Jobs for Youths Through Sports, yesterday. The session was part of SIGA’s Sport Integrity Week 2021.

Others who took part in the session were Eesha Moitra, ILO’s Youth Employment Officer; Yassin Gai, International Trade Centre associate officer; Veronic Malak, Gambia Football Federation assistant women’s football coordinator; Laura Maria Tiidla, International Sport and Culture Association project manager; and Jean Claude Rugigana, Rwanda’s National Olympic and Sports Committee IT and communication officer.

Twentytwo13 is the media partner for the global event.

Puerto-Gonzalez added that in many cases, opportunities to engage young people in unions and to bring young people into conversations were lacking.

“(This is needed) so that they can better understand what their rights, and opportunities are, in that context.”

Such organisations provide opportunities to boost the voices and the rights of young people.

“Bring them into federations that represent youths working in (the) sports industry that can also support young employers and young entrepreneurs, as they also pursue opportunities in the value chain of the sports industry.”

She also urged youths to raise their voices and be heard “at venues that they have at their disposal.”

“Know that you have the possibility of influencing policies and advocating for decent work for all. So, know your rights and continue investing in your skills.

“You are an example for other young people around the world and it’s important to continue being the change that we all need to ensure an equal and inclusive world.”