YCI Country Information


The YCI model was born in Thailand, where the Youth Career Development Programme (its operating name in the country), was first set up in 1995. Starting in Bangkok, the programme was a dynamic partnership between the Pan Pacific Hotel Group and UNICEF Thailand. Although the initial intention was to serve as a strategic prevention measure against potential exploitation of adolescent girls, young men were later accepted onto the programme too.

Over the last fifteen years about 30 hotels have joined the programme in Bangkok, which has graduated nearly 1,200 young people. These graduates have gone on to work in the hotel sector, followed other career paths such as nursing or decided to engage in further education programmes. The training cycle usually runs from March until September every year. The Youth Career Development Programme has expanded globally into the Youth Career Initiative (YCI).


While the Thai government has to deal with diverse social challenges and rising poverty, there is also the issue of youth unemployment rate scaling up to 4.3% (as it was reported in 2012). At the same time, Thailand’s tourism industry generated 19.5% of national GDP in 2013.  The sector plays a steady role in the economy as a source of employment and income generation. The industry has a lot of potential for opportunities and inclusion especially for young people.

The government aims to use this opening and build more effective vocational programmes that channel young people into the sector. Currently, the country’s educational system has a good proportion of people registered in academic and vocational training. More specifically, academic and vocational participation rates are divided on a 60:40 ratio. However, the country has decided to apply reforms for more effective vocational education if it is to meet the demands of the 21st-century job market.