07. Mai 2024 | NEWS

Growing together

NFON employees support young people from the SOS Children's Villages programs as mentors and trainers

On 7 May 2024, a new challenge will begin for around 30 NFON AG employees from the Munich headquarters and other European locations. As part of the YouthLinks Online Cross-Border-Corporate Volunteering program, they will act as mentors or trainers to help young people find their way into working life more easily.

The supported youth will pass on their knowledge to their peers after completing the training. Photo: Mazin Elamin

The young people live in various African countries, including Eswatini, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Zanzibar, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Sudan, and are supported in programs run by SOS Children's Villages. The special thing about this is that the young people will later pass on their newly acquired knowledge and experience to their peers as so-called youth ambassadors. 

Insights and orientation guidance

Which job profiles are suitable for me, what does everyday life in a company look like, how do I conduct an interview with superiors? For the young people receiving support, a personal insight into the world of work is a valuable orientation aid. One of the aims of the SOS Children's Villages YouthLinks program is to bring together company employees and young people around the world and open up new perspectives for both sides.

"I'm looking forward to this new challenge. I would like to accompany the young people on their way and help them to prepare themselves in the best possible way to find a good job. At the same time, I am excited to learning more about the challenges in their country and culture directly from the young people."

Natalie Seiter, VP People & Culture, one of the future mentors at NFON AG

The digital world of work opens up new perspectives for young people. Photo: Ford Leland

To begin with, the future mentors and trainers will become trainees themselves. A multi-part online training course prepares them for their role. They receive answers to questions about content and organization as well as training on child and youth protection. Teaching materials and moderation guidelines are available to support them. The mentors will then have a 1:1 digital exchange with their mentees over a period of 6 weeks.

From September, the training courses will then start, also online, with up to 5 volunteers training a larger group of young people together. The learning content has been developed in advance together with the young people and is wide-ranging. It includes soft skills such as teamwork and communication skills as well as leadership skills and financial literacy.

The exchange takes place via a secure online platform, which also prepares the young people for the digital demands of the working world.

Volunteering across borders

"We are very supportive of our employees' commitment. Participating in the YouthLinks program strengthens the social skills of our colleagues enormously. What’s more, it‘s great that the project enables our employees to work together, across departments and across national borders. We very much hope that our contribution will improve the career prospects of young people in the SOS programs. This is a great motivation for us!”

Patrik Heider, CEO NFON AG

Whether together on site or via e-learning across national borders: the young people benefit from the exchange and develop new perspectives. Photo: Christine Stolz

In addition to the HR component, NFON, a pan-European provider of integrated business communications, also generously supports the YouthLinks program financially. The company has already sponsored ICT projects* for SOS Children's Villages in the past and, with the active support of its employees, has contributed to the further develpment of SOS Children’s Villages‘ AI-based counseling app "Rafiki for Youth".

Strengthened for new challenges

An evaluation identifies both successes and potential for improvement. Experience to date shows that the young people leave the program stronger. The workshops bridge the gap between what they learn at school and the requirements of the labor market. The partnership contributes to the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Youth unemployment - a global challenge

  • According to the 'ILO - World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2024', more than 67 million young people worldwide are unemployed.

  • More than one in five young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are not in school, training or work.

  • With no prospects for the future, many young people feel resigned, desperate or have low self-esteem.

  • Young people without parental care are particularly disadvantaged when looking for work, as they lack the networks/family support they need to make their way into the world of work.

  • Programs such as YouthCan! and YouthLinks aim to help disadvantaged young people start their careers and give them prospects for the future.

*ICT = Information and communication technology

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