What can business do to help young people acquire the right skills to transition into good jobs?


(Brandie Conforti) #81


Hester - JA can cite local studies demonstrating how its programming increases opportunity and earning potential. For example, JA Canada was part of a Boston Consulting Group Research Project which showed that alumni return CDN$425 million annually to the Canadian economy through business and job creation along with higher tax payments (due to higher earnings) and decreased use of social assistance. In the Middle East, a study of the JA Company Program conducted by Fernando Reimers of Harvard School of Education concluded that the program developed business and soft skills in students that may not be available in traditional educational systems. These business and soft skills allow the students to be better prepared to enter the workforce. The Americas’ region signature program, Women in Development, works with vulnerable or at risk women. A study conducted by CID Gallup Latin America found that among those who participated in the program, 60 percent owned businesses, 1.5 times more than women in the control group. Further, JA alumni created RecycloBekia, a recycling company that was created before recycling took hold in Egypt. A year post-creation the company had 23 employees, a strategic partner in Hong Kong, its own factory in Egypt, two angel investors and was worth $400,000. This is one of the best examples of how JA’s programming helps youth be inspired to build their own businesses which create jobs, be prepared to successfully enter the workforce and be equipped with the financial literacy skills that will improve their economic prospects in the future.


Hester le Roux said:

We have not heard much about ensuring the demand-side is not neglected. Employability programmes are often criticised for being too supply-driven. What lessons can our panel share about ensuring skills development and employability support actually leads to good jobs? How do you measure your success?


(Kelly Trakalo) #82

At Pearson we are working hard with industry to align tasks on the job to learning and to the extent possible include industry-led credentials and to emphasize our investment around support for in-demand and growing occupations.

Hester le Roux said:

We have not heard much about ensuring the demand-side is not neglected. employability programmes are often critiqued for being too supply-driven. What lessons can our panel share about ensuring skills development and employability support actually leads to good jobs? How do you measure your success?


(Hester le Roux) #83

Thanks for these great examples Augustine. How do you respond to the argument from some people that initiatives like the ones you cite only reach privileged young people? How can we ensure broader participation in programmes like these, also by the most excluded and disadvantaged youth?

Augustine Malija said:

Who should they work with?

Companies should work with education policy makers. This can be through collaborating in designing curriculums that offers skills needed by companies. This way educators will have a role to provide the relevant skills. Here is a quote from Young Africa Works Summit’s Demand Driven Skills session take away, “Communication between the private sector and policy makers is essential to ensure that education provides the skills that young people need to find work

They should also work with young people in program design. This will ensure that the designed programs are holistic and reflect real life experiences of young people.

Can you share examples of successful business-led programmes or innovative cross-sectoral / multi-stakeholder partnerships that help more young people acquire the right skills to find and keep decent work?

The Equity Group Foundation’s Wings to Fly program. It offers high school scholarships and mentoring sessions for students applying to financial aid and scholarships abroad. I happened to be one of this programs beneficiaries in Tanzania. Ours was called College Counselling program under Equity Bank Tanzania. We were guided throughout the process. I should admit that it improved my writing ability.

Deloitte Tanzania partnered with AIESEC in the University of Dar es Salaam for a sustainable skill development project. It does a series of trainings to sophomore and final year students starting from this March. It so far has benefited 10 final year students where eight of them got jobs and two are doing internships. This is a profound example of a company partnering with youth (AIESEC).

Another example comes from west Africa. Prior to Ashesi University’s design of its engineering curriculum, it had consultations with corporate Ghana. This helped them to know what specific skills should they deliver to its prospective students.


(James Sutton) #84

Hi Hester

I think it's important that more platforms and relationships are in place to help connect young people with livelihoods opportunities, not just training. This connectivity is essential - otherwise even those with the right skills may still lack the ability to find out about roles, and to meet organisations that are right for them and who may employ them. This is also a key role for business - not just expecting candidates to come to them, but also contributing to a system whereby they add value to the youth talent pool.

Hester le Roux said:

We have not heard much about ensuring the demand-side is not neglected. Employability programmes are often criticised for being too supply-driven. What lessons can our panel share about ensuring skills development and employability support actually leads to good jobs? How do you measure your success?


(Kelly Trakalo) #85

We also need to think on the demand side about upskilling and career development once employed. How are companies ensuring the young people they hire are staying with them and growing with them.

Debbie Phillips said:

Great point about the demand side. In September of this year (2016) we launched the newest of our employability programmes: Unreasonable Impact. We believe that this is the world’s first international network of accelerators focused on scaling up entrepreneurial solutions that will help employ thousands worldwide, while solving some of our most pressing societal challenges.

Run in the UK, US and Asia twice a year over the three year partnership with Unreasonable; cohorts of ten scale up businesses will join an intensive two-week accelerator. Each accelerator is designed to support growth-stage ventures with advice and guidance from a global community of world-class mentors and industry specialists, including experts from across Barclays.

Our first UK accelerator took place in September and our first US programme is running right now, so it is too early to talk about impact, but we are aiming to accelerate the creation of thousands of new jobs. For more information check out: “Unreasonable Impact.”



Hester le Roux said:

We have not heard much about ensuring the demand-side is not neglected. Employability programmes are often criticised for being too supply-driven. What lessons can our panel share about ensuring skills development and employability support actually leads to good jobs? How do you measure your success?


(Richard Sandall) #86

These were grants used to purchase business start up materials typically for rural livelihood activities - knitting machines , construction tools etc. The VSO volunteer certainly identified one of the risks involved - another is that the presence of equipment does not solve all the other underlying challenges facing a new business in a poor area. There were success stories, but often only benefitting a few group members. We have a project review that getting finalised at the moment. It suggests better returns from business mentoring rather than start up kits - but this is complicated by the fact that it was the best and birghtest that self selected into these support services.

Alan Large said:

Thanks for your response Richard. What do you mean by 'business kits'? Did you provide access to Micro-credit to enable the new businesses to become established? I met with a VSO volunteer in 2014 who was working on the project and one of his concerns was overloading the market with so many recently trained 'artisans'. What evidence do you have that many of the businesses were successfully started, remain in business, and the impact of the intervention?

Richard Sandall said:


Hi Alan, there was a range of support. In one project (implemented bty VSO) they provided start up business kits to groups of youth who submitted winning business plans. The challenge sometimes was the grant size wasn't big enough to support all the members of the groups, and the numbers dropped off. In another component (implemented by Youth Business International), business mentoring and business advice services were provided post training - these had a strong effect for those self selecting into the post training support.


Alan Large said:

Hi Richard, I work for Tools for Self Reliance, a UK NGO which supports vocational training in Uganda (and other countries) local NGO's to provide business and vocational training to unemployed youth and other vulnerable groups. As a part of this we also provide refurbished tools so that the participants can set up a small business post training. What support post-training support did DfID provide?



Richard Sandall said:

I am Richard Sandall, Private Sector Development Adviser in DFID Uganda. I’ve been with DFID 9 years, and in Uganda 3 years. As PSD Adviser I am responsible for designing and managing projects that are linked to business growth. In Uganda I oversee an agribusiness project, and recently finished a £10.5 million project in the poorer Northern region of Uganda that saw 30,000 people trained in business and vocational skills.


(Ndungu Kahihu) #87


One limitation that all these successful initiatives (including CAP YEI) and models face is that there are small scale. With over 200 million youth across our continent desperately needing jobs, small pilots will not do it. What we need are organisations or countries willing to scale up such programs and sharing their experience with the rest. I understand Rwanda has started in this direction and the country is small enough and centrally led that it will probably be quickly successful and maybe even avoid the political challenges that kill similar efforts in bigger countries. We need more Rwandas.


Augustine Malija said:

Can you share examples of successful business-led programmes or innovative cross-sectoral / multi-stakeholder partnerships that help more young people acquire the right skills to find and keep decent work?

The Equity Group Foundation’s Wings to Fly program. It offers high school scholarships and mentoring sessions for students applying to financial aid and scholarships abroad. I happened to be one of this programs beneficiaries in Tanzania. Ours was called College Counselling program under Equity Bank Tanzania. We were guided throughout the process. I should admit that it improved my writing ability.

Deloitte Tanzania partnered with AIESEC in the University of Dar es Salaam for a sustainable skill development project. It does a series of trainings to sophomore and final year students starting from this March. It so far has benefited 10 final year students where eight of them got jobs and two are doing internships. This is a profound example of a company partnering with youth (AIESEC).

Another example comes from west Africa. Prior to Ashesi University’s design of its engineering curriculum, it had consultations with corporate Ghana. This helped them to know what specific skills should they deliver to its prospective students.


(Hester le Roux) #88

Our final question is about making sure young people are heard in designing programmes aimed at supporting them. Specifically:

Q3: How can involving young people in the design and delivery of skills programmes lead to better development solutions?


(Debbie Phillips) #89

All our employability programmes at Barclays, whether helping people gain the skills for employment, or helping businesses scale up and find talent involve feedback. We ask those taking part in programmes as well as those involved in their creation and delivery for their advice and recommendations to better the programme design and deepen their positive impacts.



Hester le Roux said:

Our final question is about making sure young people are heard in designing programmes aimed at supporting them. Specifically:

Q3: How can involving young people in the design and delivery of skills programmes lead to better development solutions?


(Brandie Conforti) #90

Without a doubt, incorporating young people in the design and delivery of skills programs leads to better development solutions. Allowing young people to influence the process during the design phase ensures that a program has the voice and viewpoint of young people represented – making the program as relevant as possible. Additionally, ensuring that the feedback of youth are captured as programs are piloted allows for further modifications to ensure that the needs of young people are being addressed in development solutions. Indeed, incorporating youth into design and delivery must not be the ideal state in developing programming – it must be the norm.


(Dorothy Stuehmke) #91

It is incredibly important that we all recognize the value add that youth can provide in helping to move the sector towards stronger, more impactful interventions and solutions for youth employment. What is more is providing youth with authentic opportunities to lead also fosters their own leadership and development too.

Some examples I can share:

The Make Your Job program with Citi Foundation partner, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), is empowering low-income youth to develop the entrepreneurial mindset and business skills to make their own job and succeed in the modern workplace. A unique characteristic of the program has been for program alumni to return and provide their expertise and experiences in helping to design programs.

Citi Foundation partner, America’s Promise Alliance, traditionally adds one youth board member and one youth trustee, between the age of 16-22, each year. Each young person elected becomes a full voting member of the leadership bodies and is considered a valuable asset to the strategic direction of the organization.

Youth are proving themselves to be vital stakeholders and key players in advancing dialogue and shaping interventions that can drive the future success of youth employability.


(Tahsinah Ahmed) #92

Hello Ndungu Kahihu. It has been the same in Bangladesh for decades. 23 ministries provide skills training in the formal sector. The situation is more complex because Non Government Organizations (NGOs) play a complimentary role in training people who dont have access to government systems. There is hardly any coordination between and among these entities. Then there are industries as well as on the job training which takes place in informal settings. Efforts are being taken to introduce standards but there is hardly data available to guide decisions. Challenges seem similar across continents.

Ndungu Kahihu said:

There are many and complex causes of this problem. But for Africa one that stands out is the mismatch between what skills and altitudes training institutions produce and what employers require. Thus we see a clear mismatch with many employers being forced to invest their own resources to train workers because the education system is not doing a good enough job. The root cause for this (again there are many) is the '3 E' silo system whereby Educators, Employers and Entrepreneurs largely function as three separate units that never meet – yet each is supposed to be dependent on the others product or service. We should start by doing all we can to break up this abnormal silo system. Let us start by basically demanding a role for employers in the classroom and for educators in the Industry. Once we get these two working together, solutions to the many other problems that form part of these complex issues will be found. Of course the question begs itself: How can this be done? Well, there are now tested models (though most of them small scale) that have demonstrated that this can be done, with fairly low cost and with very good learning/employment outcomes. Let us take a look at these and see which can be scaled up and encourage this to happen. Finally many governments in Africa are investing in demand driven approaches to skills training (CBET is one example) which require the same level of ideal Educators/Employers/Entrepreneurs partnership. Employers, through their industry groupings and other forums, should encourage these initiatives (and cross learning between people and countries) whenever they can.



(Kelly Trakalo) #93

At Pearson we put the “learner” at the center of everything we do. I think it is critical to involve young people – but it isn’t the only group to involve. We have a multi-generational workplace. Young people need to understand where others are coming from and older generations need to understand how younger generations are different. I think businesses should do a better job of setting realistic expectations of what young people can do – for some things I think we don’t give them enough credit for what they can do if we let them. In other ways I think we expect them to have the savviness of corporate veteran the first month on the job.

Hester le Roux said:

Our final question is about making sure young people are heard in designing programmes aimed at supporting them. Specifically:

Q3: How can involving young people in the design and delivery of skills programmes lead to better development solutions?


(Richard Sandall) #94

Creating jobs is probably more urgent and useful than helping people to incrementally improve low productivity livelihoods with better skills in most contexts. The trouble is, it's a lot harder to do (and measure) than training...

Kelly Trakalo said:

We also need to think on the demand side about upskilling and career development once employed. How are companies ensuring the young people they hire are staying with them and growing with them.

Debbie Phillips said:

Great point about the demand side. In September of this year (2016) we launched the newest of our employability programmes: Unreasonable Impact. We believe that this is the world’s first international network of accelerators focused on scaling up entrepreneurial solutions that will help employ thousands worldwide, while solving some of our most pressing societal challenges.

Run in the UK, US and Asia twice a year over the three year partnership with Unreasonable; cohorts of ten scale up businesses will join an intensive two-week accelerator. Each accelerator is designed to support growth-stage ventures with advice and guidance from a global community of world-class mentors and industry specialists, including experts from across Barclays.

Our first UK accelerator took place in September and our first US programme is running right now, so it is too early to talk about impact, but we are aiming to accelerate the creation of thousands of new jobs. For more information check out: “Unreasonable Impact.”



Hester le Roux said:

We have not heard much about ensuring the demand-side is not neglected. Employability programmes are often criticised for being too supply-driven. What lessons can our panel share about ensuring skills development and employability support actually leads to good jobs? How do you measure your success?


(Ndungu Kahihu) #95


Again our model is a good example of demand led initiatives. Everything we do starts with a market scan, essentially an opportunity survey that tells us what livelihood opportunities there are in the location where we want to intervene.Then we design a curriculum and create the delivery and support conditions that will enable youth to exploit these opportunities. This of course needs to become a policy recommendation for TVET systems and maybe businesses can help push the case with governments. I recently heard of a proposal in which the World Bank will support Kenyan regional governments to conduct region wide opportunity scans (regularly I hope) and share the data with all skills providers and planners so that they they can more closely link training output to business expectations. This is something to be encouraged.
Hester le Roux said:

We have not heard much about ensuring the demand-side is not neglected. Employability programmes are often criticised for being too supply-driven. What lessons can our panel share about ensuring skills development and employability support actually leads to good jobs? How do you measure your success?


(Richard Sandall) #96

First of all, it can make for worse skills programmes if everyone wants to be a hairdresser or carpenter! Of course, the ambitions, limitations and interests of young people are vital to designing good skills programmes, but youth should also be informed by market demand information to help them make better decisions. Youth (and community) participation in design is crucial in overcoming obstacles to skills provision that may not be visible to programme designers; gender based restrictions on access and choice of programme for example. Our recent experience in Uganda saw implementers establish low cost crèches at some training institutions, for example, as well as outreach campaigns that encouraged men to attend training with their wives, to reduce intra-household tensions.



Kelly Trakalo said:

At Pearson we put the “learner” at the center of everything we do. I think it is critical to involve young people – but it isn’t the only group to involve. We have a multi-generational workplace. Young people need to understand where others are coming from and older generations need to understand how younger generations are different. I think businesses should do a better job of setting realistic expectations of what young people can do – for some things I think we don’t give them enough credit for what they can do if we let them. In other ways I think we expect them to have the savviness of corporate veteran the first month on the job.

Hester le Roux said:

Our final question is about making sure young people are heard in designing programmes aimed at supporting them. Specifically:

Q3: How can involving young people in the design and delivery of skills programmes lead to better development solutions?


(Augustine Malija) #97

It's true the examples I cited involve academically talented individuals. AIESEC and Deloitte deals with University students, Equity deals with Nations top scorers in high school. So you find an average student can't access these.

I think it will work to the rest if accessibility is widened. For example AIESEC reaching out to high school students. This will ensure their accessibility to engaging companies at their level like Ernst and Young. EY recently decided to also recruit young people from high schools.

The other way can be through student clubs in schools where the ones involved in extracurricular activities can be reached.

Hester le Roux said:

Thanks for this great examples Augustine. How do you respond to the argument from some people that initiatives like the ones you cite only reach privileged young people? How can we ensure broader participation in programmes like these, also by the most excluded and disadvantaged youth?

Augustine Malija said:

Who should they work with?

Companies should work with education policy makers. This can be through collaborating in designing curriculums that offers skills needed by companies. This way educators will have a role to provide the relevant skills. Here is a quote from Young Africa Works Summit’s Demand Driven Skills session take away, “Communication between the private sector and policy makers is essential to ensure that education provides the skills that young people need to find work

They should also work with young people in program design. This will ensure that the designed programs are holistic and reflect real life experiences of young people.

Can you share examples of successful business-led programmes or innovative cross-sectoral / multi-stakeholder partnerships that help more young people acquire the right skills to find and keep decent work?

The Equity Group Foundation’s Wings to Fly program. It offers high school scholarships and mentoring sessions for students applying to financial aid and scholarships abroad. I happened to be one of this programs beneficiaries in Tanzania. Ours was called College Counselling program under Equity Bank Tanzania. We were guided throughout the process. I should admit that it improved my writing ability.

Deloitte Tanzania partnered with AIESEC in the University of Dar es Salaam for a sustainable skill development project. It does a series of trainings to sophomore and final year students starting from this March. It so far has benefited 10 final year students where eight of them got jobs and two are doing internships. This is a profound example of a company partnering with youth (AIESEC).

Another example comes from west Africa. Prior to Ashesi University’s design of its engineering curriculum, it had consultations with corporate Ghana. This helped them to know what specific skills should they deliver to its prospective students.


(James Sutton) #98

Young people should certainly be involved in the design stages of skills programmes, just as with any needs assessment. I think where it gets interesting is in the delivery. Provided the skills that they’re being trained in are tailored, then there is often an opportunity to solve other development issues whilst at the same time capacity-building with the young people.

At Raleigh International, we have a couple of examples of this. Our Youth Entrepreneurs in Sanitation project involves youth entrepreneurs being trained in the provision of sanitation solutions. At the same time we create market demand (which they supply) by creating awareness and education for sanitation in communities. It therefore not only solves a livelihood problem for young people but a WASH one for the whole community.

We also have a similar project in Tanzania with partner SHIPO and water filter businesses.


(Augustine Malija) #99

Involving us this way leads to better development solutions due to the following reasons. We are innovative, programs happen to be realistic and we feel a sense of ownership in programs.

We are innovative in the sense that we have energy to think for better ideas and implement programs. It is easy for us to adopt to changes in conditions, we can think and implement fast. This is because we do not have as much obligations to take care of as the aged. The Youth Think Tank is a pretty good exhibit. We were involved in design and delivery of this research program. Within our successive physical meetings, we were able to design implementation phases of the program. Our training convening involved designing how to collect data with respect to the realities of places we are from. This allowed for a quick-and effective- data collection phase of the project. For the first-time Tanzania’s government, has elected Dar es Salaam regional commissioner who is a young person. Shortly in office, we see better environment solutions. Solutions such as one tree campaign for every household and establishment of iron posts with chains to avoid trespassing have strong implications to curb climate change.

Programs will be realistic in the sense that they will reflect our voices. Our voices bring our experiences to life! With the reality of these experiences, these program’s contents will be spot on and holistic. In this case designs will be “youth centered”. Being youth centered makes young people and the community at large happy, a situation meaningful for sustainability. Restless Development’s programs are a good example. They engage young people meaningfully in their programs.

We feel ownership of programs since we have been involved from scratch. Since we can trace the origins of program decisions it is easy to implement them to scale. This implementation is enhanced by peer to peer interaction which is youth friendly. The importance of ownership helps implementing and beneficiary young people build trust in programs. Implementing young people become confident in the programs while beneficiary young people appreciate program effectiveness since they address real life situations they face.


(Hester le Roux) #100

That brings us to the end of the live section of this discussion. Thank you so much to all our panellists for generously sharing their time and insights.

And thank you to everyone from the Business Fights Poverty community who joined in - we appreciate your support for this Challenge and your sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.

You can continue post your comments here; please do include links to reports and other materials that you think might add to our exploration of what works.

We will be running a number of other events and activities as part of this BFP Challenge on Youth Employability. If you’d like to stay up to date with our activities and haven’t already joined the Challenge, you can do so here.

Thanks again everyone!