Youth employability – February 4 2021

Over 200 young people in Latin America get skills training thanks to Salesforce mentors

Through an innovative online cross-border mentorship programme, young people received employability and life skills training from employees of Salesforce, a global cloud-based software company. Results show that the programme helped young people grow their skills while overcoming obstacles to access training during the pandemic.

Without any doubts, 2020 was a year of challenges. This affected everyone in different ways, without exception, including young people supported by SOS Children’s Villages. The pandemic came right in the midst of their own transition process to independence.

The young people faced obstacles in areas such as education, training and access to employment on their path to self-reliance. Despite the difficult situation, young people in SOS Children’s Villages from nine countries in Latin America enrolled in virtual mentoring sessions under the umbrella of YouthLinks, the digital component of the YouthCan! Programme. YouthLinks uses the power of technology to strengthen young people’s skills through training, mentorship and networking opportunities, supporting them in becoming self-reliant. ​

The mentoring initiative, launched on 9 November and closed on 15 December 2020, successfully managed to bring together 207 young people from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. A total of 44 mentors based in Mexico, all employees of Salesforce, were each in charge of a group of five to six young people, between 16 to 21 years old.

"Certainly, with the moment you start preparing yourself to be a mentor, it becomes an opportunity for yourself to identify where you are in your personal life, reflecting if you are living in a meaningful way. And in fact, that is the main message I want to leave to my mentees, to always remember that their values are their main strengths," said Yuridia Resendiz, Sales Development Manager at Salesforce, from Mexico City in Mexico.

An additional 44 youth facilitators accompanied the young people on their mentoring journey. During the engagement, mentors and mentees could choose between two different content-modules depending on their needs and preferences: one focusing on the development of social and life skills and the second one aiming for the development of employability skills.

"This activity is of great significance because as mentors, we touch the lives and dreams of young people with great futures ahead," said Alejandro Melendez, Business Development Representative at Salesforce, also from Mexico City.

Every week, for one and a half months, the young participants logged into the YouthLinks platform through computers or mobile phones to connect with their mentors, across distances of thousands of miles.

"I have learned a lot,” said Abraham, 19, from Cusco in Peru. “For example, that a well-organised resume and a good prepared and performed job interview can make a difference."

Throughout the mentoring programme, the young people created their own tree of life to identify their personal and professional goals, practiced writing their resumes, learned about personal finances or practiced for job interviews; all supported and motivated by their mentors sharing their corporate expertise.

"What I liked the most was to make the tree of life, which has motivated me and taught me what my weaknesses and strengths are, guiding me on what I want for my life from now on," said Guadalupe, 19, from El Alto in Bolivia.

Feedback of the young people and results proved the successful outcome of the programme: 88% of young people could reinforce skills and attributes that can help them to define their future

  • 75% of young people could clearly identify and understand the main skills that employers seek in the labor market
  • 75% of young people now know how to create realistic objectives
  • 81% of young people are able to set financial goals and apply saving habits
  • 75% of young people indicate that they have been consistently motivated by their mentor

Mentors also acknowledged the positive impact of their engagement regarding their attitudes and core values such as empathy, solidarity, patience, community involvement. In addition, mentors emphasised the positive effects of their engagement on their job satisfaction.

On 21 December 2020, a virtual closing ceremony was held, recognising each individual’s great achievement and handing over virtual certificates. Regional Directors of Salesforce, and Fabiola Flores, Regional Director of SOS Children's Villages for Latin America and the Caribbean, were also present at the event, highlighting the importance of the mentoring programme and the continuity of the regional partnership with Salesforce.

For more information:

YouthLinks Website 

YouthCan! Website