January 27 2017

Partnering with local businesses to help young people on their way to independence

Finding work and becoming independent is not easy for young people in Peru. SOS Children's Villages Peru has paired up with a local company to provide young people who cannot count on the support network of a family with internship opportunities.

When SOS Children’s Villages Peru set out to identify partner companies to help young people in SOS programmes get their first taste of work experience, it was a former volunteer who facilitated an opportunity with the toy wholesaler Scorpio Group in Lima.

Wilson, 22, is one of several young people who have been given the opportunity to complete an internship at Scorpio Group. He lives at an SOS Children’s Villages youth home and is studying to become a graphic designer. He found out about the internship through one of the SOS coordinator and decided to apply.

His internship gave Wilson confidence and valuable work experience. Photo: SOS Archives

“I asked the coordinator what I should wear for the interview and how I should apply”, Wilson remembers. “I also asked for advice on how to prepare my résumé.”

The day of his interview, Wilson was very motivated but also nervous, as it was his first job interview. But the interview went well and Wilson was offered the internship. “I was happy that I was about to work for a renowned company”, he says.

He started working at Scorpio Group’s logistics department, where he quickly assumed the tasks assigned to him. The company provides training and monitors the job performance of interns like Wilson.

“Already in the first hours of the day I was answering phone calls of the different shops of the company”, Wilson says. His responsibility was to keep track of the stock and the orders and he was in charge of product transfers and other logistics tasks.

“My immediate superiors always guided me so that I could support in all required tasks. If at some point I did not receive any orders, I could carry out other tasks. That encouraged team work”, Wilson says. “We should always be proactive and willing to support where help is needed.”

Win-win situation

Young people are not the only ones who benefit from the internships. Companies like Scorpio Group also gain from youth employability partnerships with SOS Children’s Villages as they can count on young staff keen on taking on new challenges.

For Victoria Castañeda, Programme Director from SOS Children’s Villages Peru, such partnerships are crucial to support young people on their way to independence. “They are the first contact young people have with the job market, a different environment than the one they are used to. They start with an internship and then, in some cases, become assistants. That helps them to develop new and better skills and improves their chances on the job market.”
For Wilson, the internship was both a challenge and a positive learning experience. “This job was something new for me, as I had to handle a whole logistics system. Besides, I had to comply with the work hours and attend training workshops to improve the teamwork.”

The experience also made Wilson more responsible and more self-confident. “At the beginning, I was very nervous. But after I started working, I became more relaxed and surer of myself.”

It’s these new challenges that can help young people set and achieve new goals, develop personal strengths and habits, and grow their skills. The interns also receive employment benefits. Wilson used the salary he received for the internship to invest in his future. “I was also able to save some money and in the course of two months, I could buy a computer to do the graphic design assignments of the institute”, he says.

Wilson knows what he would like to achieve. “My plans for the future include completing my studies, working for a company, and growing professionally. I would like to find a job where I can feel happy doing what I like – graphic design.”

Asked what he would recommend to other young people, he says: “Be responsible and take advantage of all opportunities you have.”

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