Why recognise sport for employability?
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Beyond Sport 2015: This year, for the first time, the Barclays Sport for Employability Award will celebrate projects that use sport to address unemployment. Why is this important?

Unemployment is a topic which has helped shape global headlines over the last ten years. High unemployment rates have contributed to the dissatisfaction which has led to radical political parties gaining in popularity in Europe since 2008, and played a key role in creating the discontent which led to uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

A global crisis
Young people are particularly affected with 73 million unemployed worldwide, leading some to argue that we are facing a “global youth unemployment crisis”. The International Labour Organization has stated: “Unless immediate and vigorous action is taken, the global community confronts the grim legacy of a lost generation.”

The impact of unemployment is devastating, causing long-terms effects on an individual’s prosperity, health and wellbeing. Research has shown that unemployment in a person’s early twenties negatively affects employment prospects, earnings potential, job satisfaction and health up to two decades later.

The United Nations has recognised the importance of employment to wellbeing by highlighting it as one of the 17 sustainable development goals for the next fifteen years (Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all).

Sport as a tool to address unemployment?
While we must recognise that sport has its limitations (jobs must actually exist for programmes to make any difference), well-run sport projects can play an important role.

This is especially true for people who face hurdles in the job market, such as socioeconomically disadvantaged young people. Here, sport can help individuals to become more competitive by promoting both “core” skills (those directly associated with coaching and sports management) and “soft” skills (such as cooperation, managing emotions, leadership and respect). In some situations, it may even provide opportunities through creating access to contacts and potential employers.

There are many sport and development projects working to address the challenges of unemployment, and the four Beyond Sport nominees are good examples:

Unemployment is an issue affecting millions of people and a challenge which the international community must address over the next fifteen years and beyond. The addition of a Sport for Employability Award is welcome and provides recognition of both the significance of the issue and the hard work of the organisations using sport to tackle it.




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