Printing ink manufacturer Siegwerk has been supporting the YouthCan! initiative for years with the aim of preparing young people for the job market and teaching them relevant skills. Various examples from the partnership in 2021 show how successful, sustainable and creative the support can be.
Trainings in Colombia and India
Since 2019, Siegwerk has been working in Colombia with SOS Children's Villages under the umbrella of the YouthCan! Initiative – a youth employability program of SOS Children’s Villages. Recently, the company's employees held a virtual workshop with ten young people on the topic of "entrepreneurship" and encouraged young people to develop their own business ideas. Under the guidance of Alvaro Alfonso Lopez Sulvarado, Financial Manager at Siegwerk in Colombia, the young people got creative and developed ideas for a beauty salon or homework support for children.
In India twelve volunteers from Siegwerk passed on their knowledge to interested young people. In each case, a coach duo led young people in different groups through the online training sessions and worked with them on topics such as "Who am I?", choosing a career, communication skills, business etiquette or teamwork. In addition, the young people received important tips for job interviews. 40 program participants benefited from the training sessions in 2021 and gained relevant skills for a better start into the working world.
New Horizons in Guatemala
A comprehensive online training program was realized in Guatemala for 63 participants from 7 SOS programs. The young people took the opportunity to learn about professions and the requirements of the world of work at a "career fair". Another training area specifically addressed career development, financial planning and leadership skills. The "New Horizons" module took up the topics of efficiency, effectiveness, teamwork and circular economy, and finally put them into practice: In project work on the topic of "circular economy," the young people showed great interest in environmental issues and the impact their behavior has on their health and their family and social environment. Environmental protection and a shift from a linear and consumption-oriented approach to a circular approach were specifically highlighted.
At the end of the "New Horizons" training, the participants presented their project ideas and implemented them at four SOS Children's Villages in Guatemala:
- In Jocotán, for example, new play and recreation areas for children and young people were created, built from old tires.
- In Retalhuelu, a fruit orchard was planted in parts of the SOS Children's Village's green space, which now also helps to provide healthy nutrition for the families while teaching knowledge and practical skills related to fruit growing through play.
- At the Quetzaltenango SOS program, two young people who run a small bakery developed a concept to reduce plastic packaging when delivering their products. In addition, they are now making greater use of paper bags and encouraging family and customers to bring their own containers for shopping.
- Protecting nature is also the focus of a project in Nuevo San Carlos. In cooperation with the local community, measures have been taken to protect and maintain the local river and prevention and environmental protection campaigns have been launched.
The link of operational activities and environmental protection measures opened up new, sustainable paths for the young people.
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