289 million young people worldwide are neither in employment, education nor training, according to a recent report by the International Labour Organization. For those without or at risk of losing parental care, or from families facing difficulties, the chances of falling into this group are particularly high; without the support network often provided by a family, it can be difficult to even begin bridging the gap between school and work.

As a response to this, YouthCan! - our global programme for youth employability and entrepreneurship - was launched in 2017 by SOS Children’s Villages and five global partners from the private sector to promote decent work for young people without parental care or at risk of losing it. In 2022, 14,253 young people across 47 countries received holistic support through YouthCan!.  

 Background of young people

In this joint effort, employees from our corporate partners share their time, skills, expertise and own career stories, both online and offline. These volunteers plan workshops, facilitate exposure to professional environments and act as professional mentors. Employees and young people can connect face to face or through the digital platform YouthLinks, which enables worldwide collaborative learning through online mentoring.

YouthCan! combines mentoring, soft and technical skills trainings and first work experiences into one comprehensive approach. The programme is locally led, tailored to the local labour market and to the needs of each young person.

This is made possible through the commitment and engagement of 1,869 volunteers from 204 partners worldwide. While YouthCan! continues to grow and improve in both reach and activities that use digitalization to their advantage, the leading challenges for young people remain access to digital devices and connection to the internet. 


The digital platform YouthLinks utilizes the power of technology to develop young people’s skills through training, mentorship and networking. YouthLinks provides an opportunity for young people and volunteers to connect more easily, thus breaking geographical barriers. Through online activities, young people transitioning to independence gain digital literacy and employability skills that are crucial for them to succeed in the job market.


YouthCan! Facts and Figures 2022

The 2022 results demonstrate that YouthCan! provides crucial support to one of the most at-risk groups across the globe and is the right type of investment for young people, society and generations to come.

Read the report

A global network and a local response

Partnering for impact

Working with our corporate and support partners, we aim to increase our impact on the lives of children, young people and communities, thus actively contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.
As part of the YouthCan! network, corporate partners match local talent with corporate needs, generating business value and strengthening their reputation and brand among customers and employees.

There are many ways you can support YouthCan! at the local, national or international level.

Contact us for more information:

Network of global YouthCan! partners



At the end of 2020, we decided to validate the success of YouthCan! by commissioning an independent evaluation of its outcomes in four countries. 

Executive Summary


YouthCan! News

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