October 25 2016

International partnership to expand employment opportunities for under-served youth

A global partnership announced today between the Youth Career Initiative and SOS Children’s Villages International aims to help thousands of disadvantaged young people develop the skills and connections they need to secure decent work.

The Youth Career Initiative (YCI) and SOS Children’s Villages will scale-up their successful collaboration on youth employability into more countries through the new international partnership agreement which aims, by 2019, to enable 500 young people to take part in YCI programmes each year.

The partnership contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) to ensure decent work for all and economic growth by expanding career training and employment opportunities in the international hotel industry to more young people.

SOS Children’s Villages works in 134 countries and territories to strengthen families and support children and young people who have lost parental care or risk losing it. The organisation helps young people in its programmes pursue education, job training, and skill development.

YCI was started in 2004 by the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), a part of Business in the Community (BITC), a not-for-profit organisation working to secure a fairer society and sustainable future through socially responsible business.

“We are thrilled to be formalising our longstanding local partnerships with SOS Children’s Villages national associations into a strategic relationship with SOS Children’s Villages International," said ITP Director Fran Hughes.

"We have enjoyed an open, transparent and fruitful relationship with SOS over the years which has seen programmes in the locations where we work together strengthened, and benefitting from the expertise and knowledge SOS brings. Our aligned missions, shared goals and complementary strengths make this a great fit,” she added.

About the training

Through YCI, young people take part in 24-week training programmes run by YCI’s hotel partners. The young people learn about career options and how to make informed choices for their futures.  For many, the YCI programme provides their first professional training and mentorship.

Participants are typically high school graduates between the ages of 18 and 21 who, due to social exclusion, poverty, and other factors, face challenges securing decent work.

YCI programmes are tailored to meet the needs of these young people in their local job markets, thus helping to reduce youth unemployment, poverty and exploitation.

Challenging times for young people

“Finding work is challenging for many young people around the world today. It is especially difficult for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities with high unemployment rates. High-impact training programmes like YCI are needed and on a larger scale," said Tom Malvet, Director International Competence Centres, SOS Children’s Villages International.

"This renewed commitment to a global partnership will enable even more young people to shape their futures and become empowered adults, by giving them the opportunity to learn vital life and work skills," he added.

By working with non-profit partners, YCI provides a unique employability opportunity to young people across the globe, also helping the international hotel industry contribute to tackling SDG 8 on youth unemployment in 19 countries.

Over 3,000 young people have graduated from the programme to date, including 231 young people from SOS Children’s Villages programmes.

YCI has an 85% success rate of graduates returning to quality education, or securing good jobs and bringing economic growth to their families and communities.

Among these young people is Daniel, who graduated from YCI Hungary in 2015 and secured a job at the Marriott Budapest Hotel. He had this to say about YCI:

“When I started the programme in July, I’ll admit that I was daunted by the prospect of working in a hotel environment and the high expectations I knew I had to meet. However, over the six months, I have been constantly encouraged by my mentors and they have helped me to develop my skills so that I can work here just like my colleagues. I feel confident in my abilities now, especially that I have secured a job, and I can only thank those who have supported me.”

History of the partnership

Over the past five years, SOS Children’s Villages and YCI have partnered on youth employability projects in Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Hungary, India, Kenya, Mexico, Senegal, Vietnam and Zambia.

With the new global partnership commitment, discussions are underway to expand the programme to China, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Honduras, Lebanon, Morocco, Panama, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay.

At least 50% of the young people from SOS Children’s Villages who have gone through the training secured employment afterwards, 22% of them at the same hotels where they did the YCI programme.

In the example of Costa Rica, 37% of the young people from SOS Children’s Villages secured employment, 20% went on to an internship, and 34% enrolled in formal studies, following their involvement in the YCI programme.

Click here to learn more about YCI.

Read about other SOS Children's Villages education and training programmes.