The Youth Employment Solutions is Plan International in Asia’s response to the need for children and youth to have the necessary skills, knowledge and information for a successful transition from school to decent work.

We strive to ensure that children and youth are able to secure decent work for themselves. We do this by developing and strengthening partnerships, and innovating, replicating or scaling up successful programs. We make strategic choices through the different programs, partnerships and advocacies we carry out.

Young people face a future where an education is simply no longer enough to land them a decent job. Placed in a competitive market designed to put a premium on experience, age and a specific skill set, today’s youth are unprepared and daunted by the challenges they must face to secure employment.

Plan International, through the Youth Employment Solutions, provides young people opportunities to decide on the jobs they want, whether through skills training for waged employment or entrepreneurship training for self-employment. We employ a methodical approach that assesses the situation on the ground in order to identify options, and tailor our programs based on the data and evidence collected. Essentially, we aim to get decent work for young people through innovation, replication and scaling up successful programs with new and current partners.

Regardless of the pathway to empowerment, the YES model follows a step-by-step process that has been developed to address the needs of young people who are constrained by poverty, inadequate skills and lack of opportunity for training and development.

The model begins with a market scan, which examines the local labor market and the situation of the targeted youth. The curriculum is then developed or enhanced to cater to the local situation and needs, based on the findings of the market scan. The curriculum feeds into the pre-employment phase, where target youth undergo training for essential skills – i.e. foundation, transferable and technical skills – either through market-led vocational training or vocational and entrepreneurial training. Our goal is to mobilize youth to be job-ready after skills development.

Plan recognizes it is not sufficient to simply train youth in select market-driven skill sets. The gap between education and employment must be bridged. This is where a work readiness training or mentorship proves to be crucial. Youth receive career counseling, internships and business partnerships to support them as they pave their way to the world of work. Plan International continues to monitor the progress of each youth post-program for a minimum of six months to help ensure that program activities are, in fact, empowering youth to be their own agents of change. Enrolling youth in an alumni network prior to completion also helps Plan connect youth with valuable job-related resources, track the impact of its employment interventions, and assess potential new services and revisions to existing trainings that may be useful for job mobility and advancement.