March 1 2017

YouthCan! - Launching the new global partnership for youth employability

On 1 March, SOS Children’s Villages launched the new global partnership YouthCan! in Johannesburg, South Africa. YouthCan! helps to empower young people to successfully manage the transition into independent life and the job market.

The YouthCan! partnership is an opportunity for young people who are at risk of losing parental care or who have lost parental care to become ready for the job market and lead successful independent lives.

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 those who cannot count on the networks, resources and guidance of their own families. In many countries, these young people face social and economic exclusion. As a result, they have limited opportunities to access the labour market and embark on their careers.

Norbert Meder, CEO of SOS Children's Villages International, and Christof Ehrhart, Executive Vice President Corporate Communications and Responsibility, Deutsche Post DHL Group at the launch of YouthCan!. Photo: Denvor de Wee
“Youth unemployment is a huge global problem,” said Norbert Meder, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages International at the launch event, noting that there are more than seventy million unemployed young people worldwide. “We want to make sure that young people everywhere, whether they are in the care of an SOS family or in a family that is struggling to cope, are prepared to make the leap to independent living. It’s a big task, which is why it’s important we work in partnership with corporates, experts, and young people themselves to achieve it.”

Together with corporate partners such as Deutsche Post DHL Group and AkzoNobel, Allianz, and support partner Youth Career Initiative , SOS Children’s Villages will support young people in different countries through a variety of activities that will enhance their skills and personal development so they can eventually become self-reliant. These include hands-on experience in a real working environment, access to role models and mentors, entrepreneurship training and skills sharing.

Strong partnerships for better futures

YouthCan! was launched in South Africa, where the youth unemployment rate almost reaches 50%.

At the event, Rakesh Sithlu, Head of R&D and Procurement and member of the Management Team at AkzoNobel South Africa announced their decision to partner with YouthCan! in South Africa.

“It will be a sizeable contribution in the South African context. What it does involve is mobilising people to train them and upskill them to provide the product and service, which is critically important for this initiative to get traction and sustainability,” said Mr Sithlu.

Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, also offered the foundation’s support to join the initiative in South Africa.

“YouthCan! brings together a range of experts on youth development from both civil society and the private sector. We combine our expertise and networks to ensure that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds become contributing members of our society,” said Stephen Miller, National Director for SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.

Through partnerships with corporates and support partners, SOS Children’s Villages aims to increase its impact in the lives of the children under their care around the world whilst actively contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals and effectively working to reduce youth unemployment.

YouthCan! will hold additional events in Costa Rica and in Sri Lanka later in 2017.

More about how we work with corporate partners to improve the lives of children and families

Read more news on how we support young people through training