WHAT IS THE YOUTH CAREER INITIATIVE?
The Youth Career Initiative (YCI) is a six-month education programme that provides disadvantaged young people with life and work skills. The purpose is to empower young participants to make informed career choices and realise the options available to them, enabling them to improve their employability and enhance their long-term social and economic opportunities.
YCI is made possible thanks to a unique partnership with the international hotel industry, whereby participating properties provide the human, operational and training resources to deliver the programme.
"The initiative provides a practical platform for governments, companies, and non-profit organisations to work collaboratively towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – in particular poverty alleviation."
Eligible candidates are typically aged between 18-21 years-old, have recently finished high school, are able to make a full-time commitment to the programme, and are considered to be at-risk of exploitation.
Suitable participants should also be able to show a willingness to learn and a desire for self-development but have no other means to improve their lives; this means that they have limited or no opportunities to find decent, legitimate employment or continue in further education.
Each country programme is tailored to suit the local needs of its young people – YCI is used as a tool to tackle or prevent issues such as youth unemployment, social exclusion, poverty, and exploitation.
YCI has developed global core standards that are adapted to the needs of the target country and its youth, thus providing a consistent framework for training delivery that is also relevant to the local market.
The programme is designed to be delivered as part of the regular, day-to-day operations of a full-service hotel, since it is built on the back of existing training and development courses the hotels regularly offer to their staff, and it is supplemented with external courses.
Each programme provides over 750 training hours through a combination of theoretical and practical instruction, including mentoring in life and work skills, with most of the teaching coming from senior managers and highly experienced associates from the hotels.
Non-profit and public organisations help to identify and recruit the most deserving candidates from local schools and deprived local communities. They also provide supplementary lectures, whilst other business sectors are invited to showcase job opportunities that participants could pursue upon graduation, given the transferable skills they learn through YCI.
The initiative provides a practical platform for governments, companies, and non-profit organisations to work collaboratively towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – in particular poverty alleviation.
YCI originated in Bangkok in 1995 as the Youth Career Development Program; a community initiative from Pan Pacific Hotels Group established to “give something back” to society and to demonstrate the company’s commitment to lifelong learning. The model was created by Lyndall DeMarco, Corporate Director of Education with Pan Pacific, and Dr Kitiya Phornsadja, Child Protection Officer for UNICEF Thailand. The programme began with eight girls and one boy from welfare schools in Northern Thailand. The scheme was so successful for both the students and the hotel that it was expanded to allow more young people and hotel companies to participate in Bangkok. In 1998, the scheme launched in the Philippines. Indonesia was the next market to adopt the programme in 2004. Lyndall DeMarco subsequently joined the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) where she successfully helped develop and expand the programme globally under the brand “Youth Career Initiative”.
In October 2013, the International Tourism Partnership moved from IBLF to Business in the Community (BITC), which now operates as the new home base for YCI.