YouthCan! supports young people who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing it on their journey to decent work and independent life.
In this global partnership between SOS Children’s Villages and the private sector, corporate volunteers share their time, skills, expertise and own career journeys.
They plan workshops, trainings, facilitate exposure to professional environments and act as mentors. Employees and young people can connect face to face or through our digital platform, enabling worldwide collaborative learning and breaking down geographical barriers. YouthCan! was first launched in seven pilot countries in 2017. It has since grown to include 31 countries, with the aim of reaching young people in 40 countries by 2020.
Our unique, multidimensional and tailor-made approach
YouthCan! combines mentoring, first work experience, and soft and technical skills trainings into one comprehensive approach. The programme is locally-owned and tailored to the local labour market and the needs of each young person. Participants are involved in the continuous review of the programme and help craft an approach that best suits their individual needs. Peer-to-peer exchange and support is facilitated on- and offline.
Our response to the global youth employment challenge
267 million young people worldwide are neither in education, employment or training. That accounts for 22% of young people aged 14-25, according to a recently published International Labour Organisation report that looks at employment and social trends for 2020. Currently, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and 145 million young workers live in poverty. Continuously fine-tuning and expanding our response to the global youth employment challenge therefore remains a top priority in YouthCan!.
The right intervention for self-reliance
In 2019, YouthCan! was active in 31 countries, reaching 5,700 young people and more than 1,700 volunteers. Diversifying the activities offered per participant and expanding upon existing programmes to best suit the needs of our participants were the biggest focus areas in 2019. Youth employability activities saw a 50% increase compared to last year, with more than 300 activities made available to young people across the globe. As a result, higher employability and an increase in digital skills are reported for young people growing up in alternative care offered by SOS Children’s Villages.
We see evidence in the programmes that where YouthCan! is implemented, the self-reliance rate of young people leaving care is developing at a 5% higher rate than on the global average across all our programmes. A deepening of our work in 2019 was in great part possible thanks to the growing network of corporate volunteers that joined YouthCan! – 90 new local partnerships were established and 400 additional volunteers donated their time and effort to young people. Interactions between young people and corporate volunteers, either as trainers or as mentors, took place an average 13 times per year and the volunteer-to-youth ratio reached a record one volunteer for every three participants.
These results stem in part from the continued commitment of our six global partners: AkzoNobel, Allianz, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Johnson & Johnson, Siegwerk and thyssenkrupp Elevator.
Together, we continue to move away from conventional public-private partnerships to a new era of collaboration, where fostering exchange and encouraging teamwork is key to impact- oriented results.