People Category Finalist
Currently there are 75 million young people around the world looking for work. At the same time the hospitality industry is growing rapidly and already estimated to support 1 in 11 jobs globally. Furthermore, since much of its workforce are 18-24 year olds, the sector is in the ideal position to meet these young people's need for sustainable employment.
Working with 11 partner hotel companies, the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) has developed a six-month training programme for unemployed youth with limited socio-economic opportunities in 15 countries around the world. Without the Initiative’s help, the people it works with are unlikely to have a viable route into legitimate employment.
As well as their regular classes, students also get hands-on vocational training in up to 15 hotel areas. By using full-service hotels as the learning platform in this way, YCI provides students with transferable life and work skills that make them employable and empower them to make informed career choices.
To date, over 3,000 young people have graduated from YCI across its 15 countries. Overall, the programme has an 85% success rate, with 47% of graduates building careers in the hotel industry, 26% pursuing employment in other sectors, and 12% deciding to continue with further education.
YCI also works with survivors of human trafficking, collaborating with the US Department of State to enable the reintegration of rehabilitated survivors following their participation in YCI programmes. Each year a number of training places are allocated to these survivors in select YCI markets, including Mexico, Vietnam, India, Ethiopia and Kenya. To date some 60 trafficking survivors have graduated from the programme.
By 2019, YCI plans to have expanded to 400 hotels across 20 more countries, enabling 2,500 young people to graduate through its programme each year. The programme is a beacon for the sector that shows how tourism can provide work skills that transform young and disadvantaged lives.