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“Education is the key to change”: The voices of young people on the move

Resilient and motivated, young migrant and displaced people represent a valuable pool of talent and innovation. Inspired by their ideas and aspirations, young people on the move reveal that talent can be found in any place. However, often their talent cannot be developed and applied due to the lack of opportunities available for them. 


However, young people on the move know what needs to be done to provide them with learning and employment opportunities that unleash their full potential.  It is time we listen to them. In early 2021, UNICEF took a first step by launching a U-Report poll were 8,764 young people, from 14 to 24 years, shared their educational aspirations, the unique barriers they face, and their call to decision-makers to co-create learning and earning solutions with and for youth. 

What young people on the move said? 


From the poll respondents, 3,157 self-identified as migrants, refugees, and displaced. When asked about their aspirations for the future, 4 out of 10 young people on the move shared that education and training are their biggest priorities, followed by looking for a job. Regarding what they would like to learn, the most common answer was professional skills, being law, administration, business, or education among the most popular careers. Language and technology skills were also mentioned.  


Besides their willingness to learn, young migrants also shared the multiple challenges they face. 7 out of 10 agreed that limited financial resources prevented them from learning, and 4 out of 10 identified a lack of available jobs as their biggest barrier to earning an income. The lack of support when searching for a job and the insufficient job information are also other issues they experienced. 


Even if challenges are present, young people on the move stay resilient and hopeful. 8 out of 10 participants expressed they can contribute positively to their communities, showing confidence in their capacities and talents.   


The following information is a summary of the voices of young people on the move. If you would like to get more detailed information, UNICEF and U-Report invite you to read the complete “Talent on the Move” report. 

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The key to change: Access to education 


The poll results give us a glimpse of the voices of young people on the move and their urgent call to act and create opportunities to foster their talents and skills. From Syria to Canada, young people like Ahmad (22) show us how young people on the move can overcome challenges through their resilience and have the talents and potential to become change-makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators.   


“I lived in Jordan for roughly 7 years. And then, I came to Canada in 2020 to start my educational journey as a nursing student. From each experience I’ve had in my life, I took a valuable lesson. Education is the key to change.”, said Ahmad. 


Get inspired by his story and help us reimagine a world where all young people have access to educational opportunities, especially the most vulnerable.   

Discover more data about young people on the move at data.unicef.org   

See by the numbers how we are engaging youth voices for positive social change.