Youth employability – April 26 2018

Let’s Colour: boosting youth employability with the power of paint

After a successful pilot year, SOS Children’s Villages and AkzoNobel, a leading global paints and coatings company, continue to renovate SOS living spaces and provide training for young people to improve their employment prospects. The programme is now expanding to six more countries and therefore reaching young people in a total of 10 countries.

Youth unemployment is a global challenge. Around 70 million young people around the world are unemployed, and many more do not earn enough to build a stable, independent life. This is a particular challenge for young people leaving alternative care, as they often lack networks, resources and guidance that help young people gain professional experience and find decent work.

SOS Children’s Villages has responded to this global issue by launching the YouthCan! initiative, which supports young people to successfully manage the transition from school to work and to lead independent lives. In 2017, AkzoNobel, a leading global paints and coatings company joined the initiative.

Through AkzoNobel’s Let’s Colour programme, the young people from SOS Children’s Villages have the opportunity to get training and practical experience to become professional painters. The programme also provides access to other skill trainings by the employees within the programme. The initiative also provides renovations – completed by recently trained young painters in collaboration with AkzoNobel volunteers – to improve the living spaces of SOS Children’s Villages programme participants.

The partnership was piloted successfully in 2017 in four countries: Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa, with great results and learnings.

With the involvement of about 100 AkzoNobel volunteers, trainings were delivered to nearly 150 young people throughout the four countries. The trainings support them so that, in the long term, they will find decent stable employment or self-employment.

With more than 4,000 litres of paint donated and many facilities renovated, the partnership has taken important steps towards ensuring that children and young people live in improved living spaces.

This was only the first year of what we believe will be a long-standing partnership. In 2018, the partnership is expanding its reach from the initial four pilot countries, adding six additional countries: Argentina, Belgium, China, India, Pakistan and Russia.

We invite you to watch the 2017 summary video of the partnership here and to follow our campaign via the hashtags #YouthCan #LetsColour.


About AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel creates everyday essentials to make people’s lives more liveable and inspiring. As a leading global paints and coatings company, we supply essential ingredients, essential protection and essential colour to industries and consumers worldwide. Backed by a pioneering heritage, our innovative products and sustainable technologies are designed to meet the growing demands of our fast-changing planet, while making life easier. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we are present around the globe, while our portfolio includes well-known brands such as Dulux, Sikkens, International and Interpon. Consistently ranked as a leader in sustainability, we are dedicated to energising cities and communities while creating a protected, colourful world where life is improved by what we do.

About YouthCan!

YouthCan! is a global partnership that supports young people who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing it to successfully manage the transition from school to work and independent life. In this joint effort between SOS Children’s Villages and private sector companies, partners mobilise their employees to share their time, expertise and own career stories both online and offline, becoming role models for the young people and exposing them to the professional environment. Building individual solutions with a strong coaching aspect, with training and opportunities to practise new skills, YouthCan! proves that you can turn your story around. Together we aim to reach 10,000 young people by 2020, while inspiring other global and local actors to replicate the model. 

For any questions related to the AkzoNobel partnership, please approach Cristina Soreanu at

Picture: AkzoNobel