289 million young people worldwide are not in employment, education or some form of training, with young women twice as likely as young men to be affected. The transition to adulthood can be a daunting process for any young person. Becoming self-reliant means adapting to the loss of support networks and structures; learning how to cope alone with everyday challenges; entering the world of work and becoming financially independent. This can be particularly challenging for those leaving alternative care and for those in families struggling to stay together, who lack adequate support at home. In both scenarios, it is likely that the young person has experienced a childhood trauma

Empowering young people

We work directly with youth to prepare them for this transition to independence through a special focus on youth empowerment.

In our direct work with young people, we offer psychosocial support and provide guidance on education and career options, and encourage them to develop their individual interests and talents.

To prepare young people for their transition to independence, we offer vocational, qualifications and social skills training to increase their employability and entrepreneurship prospects.

We work with partners, to set up employability and entrepreneurship initiatives; and with governments to improve aftercare provisions worldwide. Most importantly, we connect them with mentors and wider support networks to guide them on their unique path. 

Our YouthCan! programme supports young people without parental care or at risk of losing it, to successfully transition from school to decent work and independent life. To date, 14,253 young people in 47 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East have benefited from the programme.

For young people in our programmes, the risk of being out of employment, education or training (NEET rate) remains significantly lower than the global average.

We also focus on digital access and learning for young people, helping them to stay connected, build skills for employability and entrepreneurship purposes, and navigate the internet responsibly.

Learn more about how we work with partners to leverage the benefits of technologies for children, young people and families:

More about ICT4D