GLOBAL: Salesian Missions highlights life-changing technical and vocational training programs on World Youth Skills Day 2018
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions joins the United Nations and other international organizations in celebrating World Youth Skills Day which has been celebrated on July 15 every year since 2014. The UN designated the day to bring greater awareness to the importance of technical and vocational education and training as well as the development of skills relevant to both local and global economies.
Each World Youth Skills Day has a theme with this year’s theme being, “Improving the image of TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training)”. The day will be focused on building a shared understanding of the value of technical and vocational training and the importance of increasing access to it for young people around the globe.
The UN has noted that, “Productive participation in the current and emerging dynamic labor markets have placed a unique focus on TVET as a critical source of responsively skilled human capital. Employment trends and outlooks signify that the youth of today need to functional competencies as well as higher order transversal skills that enable them to respond to continuing changes in the world of work.”
College and university education is often looked at more favorably than vocational and technical training. The aim is to change the perception of this highly valuable skills training and ensure access for all. This is particularly important as the UN indicates that youth are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. They are often forced to settle for lower quality jobs and have greater labor market inequalities and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions. In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed and underpaid than their male counterparts.
The Salesians are regarded as the single largest provider of vocational and technical training in the world. They offer more than 1,000 vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools around the globe. These schools and training programs go beyond educating. They provide youth with practical skills for employment, assist them in making connections within industries and prepare them for the process of searching, finding and retaining employment. This type of training enables youth to contribute to their communities and lead productive lives.
“We know that access to education for both boys and girls lays the foundation for a better future for homeless, abandoned and at-risk youth,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “In many countries around the globe where poverty is high and access to education is not universal, it is crucial that Salesian missionaries offer technical and vocational training to as many youth as they can.”
To mark World Youth Skills Day 2018, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight technical and vocational programs that provide life-changing education and skills training for poor and at-risk youth.
The Life Outlook protection program serves youth between the ages of 15 and 17 who participate in internships secured through Don Bosco City in Medellin, where violent drug wars routinely tear families apart. The program provides youth with adult support and access to formal and technical education to give them the skills needed to successfully enter the workforce.
The formal education offered through the program includes both grade school and high school level classes that help youth reconnect with peers. Students are given the option of advancing to technical skills training programs which include internship opportunities that allow them to put their classroom learning into real world practice.
Internships cover a variety of industries including the apparel, automotive, woodworking and furniture industries. Student interns are offered housing and safe spaces to study, connect with peers and relax.
Don Bosco Tech Society, one of India’s largest skills training institutions, launched the Bosco Academy for Skills and Employment thanks to funding received from the Axis Bank Foundation. This new skills training program is focused on improving workforce readiness among underprivileged youth and will provide training in market-driven courses related to the manufacturing and service sectors.
The goal is to train 4,600 youth in the Indian regions of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan so they are able to secure jobs in the new economy and build better career paths. The Axis Bank Foundation’s focus on creating employment opportunities for school dropouts, unemployed youth from rural parts of India, tribal communities and women made it a perfect fit to fund the Bosco Academy for Skills and Employment.
Don Bosco Tech Society and the Axis Bank Foundation’s partnership has spanned five years. During that time, Don Bosco Tech has trained more than 50,000 youth and provided employment opportunities that allowed them to obtain a sustainable livelihood.
REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Brazzaville, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Congo, recently launched a project to support the modernization of vocational training. The project officially launched in May 2018 and will continue through October. The overall goal is to improve the training of 21 teachers and increase student enrollment by 3,000 over the next three years by purchasing new equipment and creating new vocational workshops.
To better support teachers in the training center, Salesian missionaries will expand the library, address logistical problems related to the transport of teachers to and from school, and improve their salaries. The project will also offer teachers scholarships so that they can engage in continuing education to improve their skills. Most of the training will take place abroad.
Project funding will be utilized to purchase new equipment such as modern high-quality tools and instruments for courses in electro-technical, air conditioning and heating systems, lathing and welding, and carpentry. The project will also purchase new tools for the creation of a driving school within the auto mechanics department to ensure that graduating students pass the driver’s test and have their driver’s license.
Taking into account the demands of the local labor market and the interests of students, the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center intends to start new courses in construction, renewable energies, and the maintenance of computers and networks, electronic and audiovisual equipment.
Salesian missionaries have vocational training schools across Vietnam. Today, 330 Salesians of Don Bosco work in the St. John Bosco Province, which includes 33 communities in Vietnam and two in Mongolia. Each new training center begins modestly and gradually based on funding and resources. The Don Bosco School in Phuoc Loc, which started in 1993, now has 700 students with 150 students graduating in automobile mechanics, general mechanics or welding. The school is operated by 40 teachers, including eight Salesian missionaries.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the capital of Vietnam, a Salesian school offers youth with disabilities a chance to learn a trade and an opportunity for self-sufficiency at a new bakery school. The school was started by Francis Van Hoi, a Salesian school graduate from Vietnam who is now living in Germany, who was concerned about youth in Vietnam who lack educational opportunities.
Noting the close to 50 four- and five-star hotels and hundreds of restaurants with a variety of culinary offerings located in Ho Chi Minh City that needed well-trained staff, Van Hoi saw the value of this type of training as a fast track for youth to access jobs right in their own backyard. The Salesian bakery school was opened in the summer of 2016 and works in collaboration with an existing local Salesian school for cooking and catering that also offers high quality training for students.