Youth employability – March 1 2019

YouthCan! reaches 5,000 young people on second anniversary

YouthCan!, the SOS Children’s Villages global youth employability programme, marks its second successful year of making a difference on 1 March 2019.

More than 5,000 young people from 25 countries participated in a YouthCan! programme in 2018. One of them was Monalisa Ariska, 21, a university student from Indonesia. Today, she is confident and excited about her future.

“The most important thing that I’ve learned in YouthCan! is: don’t be afraid to reach for what you want, don’t forget to step forward, don’t be afraid to take a risk if you want to be a big person, just be brave enough to take a risk,” she says.

The lack of decent work and employment opportunities is a great challenge faced by many young people around the world. It is particularly daunting for young people without adequate parental care or at risk of losing it, who cannot count on the networks, resources and guidance that their peers may have.

Monalisa Ariska speaking at the recent YouthCan! Global Conference 2019 in Essen, Germany. Photo: Leonora Barclay.

“Youth unemployment is a huge and growing global challenge – and one that requires strong collaborative action. YouthCan! taps on the expertise of our six global corporate partners and over 130 local partners to adequately equip our youths with the right skills beyond formal education in order to succeed and thrive sustainably in local labour markets,” says Norbert Meder, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages International.

YouthCan! supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to successfully transition from school to employment and to an independent life. The opportunities and skills offered are invaluable for young people as they start their own careers.

Corporate volunteers share their time, skills, expertise and own career stories with young people. With six global corporate partners – AkzoNobel, Allianz, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Johnson & Johnson, Siegwerk and thyssenkrupp Elevator – and local partners in each location, YouthCan! is flexible enough to be adjusted for local needs. The initiative combines three programme pillars – Mentor – Train – Practice – into one individual approach. This means it offers a range of opportunities, including mentoring, internships and skills development, depending on what the young people need to best find local opportunities.

Employees and young people are able to connect face-to-face or through the digital platform, YouthLinks, enabling worldwide collaborative learning through face-to-face and online mentoring. YouthLinks offers the possibility for partners and young people to have more regular contact, and therefore, a closer relationship. In 2018, the digital component of YouthCan! has been implemented in ten countries.

In a recent survey of over 500 YouthCan! participants from six countries, 95% of participants reported that through YouthCan! they gained the necessary soft and professional skills that make them more likely to be employed and that they think more positively about their future and feel more self-confident.

Further, there are also benefits for the employees who volunteer with YouthCan! 95% of Deutsche Post DHL Group and AkzoNobel volunteers say that they appreciate their engagement in YouthCan! and would advise their friends to also participate [1]. In addition, 80% of corporate co-workers who participated in the online mentorship programme perceived a higher job satisfaction due to their volunteering engagement enabled by their employer [2].

The YouthCan! initiative is built on the success of GoTeach, a partnership between SOS Children’s Villages and Deutsche Post DHL Group in which young people have access to trainings, mentoring and internships with volunteers from the company. In January, King Felipe VI of Spain presented Deutsche Post DHL Group with the CODESPA Award in the category of “Solidarity Enterprise” for its GoTeach partnership with the SOS Children’s Villages.

“We are delighted to be celebrating two years of YouthCan!,” says Christoph Selig, Head of GoTeach team at Deutsche Post DHL Group. “When we first developed the GoTeach programme, we saw that we could really contribute something in working with young people, trying to support them while they transition from school to working life, and then in SOS Children’s Villages we just found our perfect partner. We have created something that you cannot stop, and that’s great,” he adds.

Now active in 25 countries, YouthCan! continues to grow, supporting more young people in all corners of the world to develop the skills they need to reach their potential and build a successful, independent future.

Learn more about YouthCan! here.


[1] SOS Children’s Villages - YouthCan! Annual Reporting 2018. As of January 2019.

[2] SOS Children’s Villages - YouthCan! Annual Reporting 2018. As of January 2019.