In Brazil, many young people struggle to find decent work after leaving school. Youth employability particularly affects young people without parental care or who are at risk of losing it, as they often lack the resources, networks and opportunities that their peers may have.
As youth employability is a global challenge, taking action also requires a global approach. In 2017 SOS Children’s Villages launched the YouthCan! initiative, together with corporate partners. This initiative boosts access to training, mentoring and professional development opportunities, giving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to kick-start their careers by gaining skills and experience that are crucial to finding decent work.
Testimonials from young people
Thales Thierry Maravelli Brito, aged 19, is a professional house painter in Brazil. A graduate of the painter and professional skills training programme with AkzoNobel, part of the YouthCan! initiative, he says: “A lot has changed in my life – from the moment I started following the advice that was passed to me in the course, things started to work out in my life.”
Kennedy Santos Souza, aged 22, is a developer with the international bank Santander. He credits GoTeach – an employability programme by Deutsche Post DHL, part of the global YouthCan! initiative – with motivating him to dream bigger. “GoTeach made me dream higher, and I keep dreaming high even after finishing the programme,” he says.
Mentors share their experiences
One key part of this initiative is the involvement of employees of the corporate partners who volunteer their time and often act as mentors to the young people. These employees can share their own experiences and advice about challenges they faced earlier in their careers, as well as be a sounding board and role model. In Brazil, employees from Deutsche Post DHL, AkzoNobel and thyssenkrupp Elevator have seized the chance to become mentors and support young people.
Viviane Lopes Fonseca, Human Resources Analyst at thyssenkrupp Elevator, says: “When I was told about the possibility of doing something for young people, I was motivated by the desire to contribute with my knowledge of HR and help with the search for a first job. I put myself in their place, how difficult it was in my time, and imagined how it must be today.”
Angela Simão, Transportation Manager at DHL Supply Chain, shares a memorable moment: “One student had said that she cried in maths classes for not liking the subject. By the end of the course, she had a different attitude. She said that she was no longer afraid of numbers.”
Learn more about YouthCan!