ITALY: New Salesian partnership will train 500 youth to become high-tech truck drivers to fill employment needs across Italy
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have launched the Young Drivers Project to train youth as truck drivers to meet Italy’s demand for 180,000 drivers who have more specialized technical piloting skills for high-tech cockpits. The project is in collaboration with the Unione Nazionale Rappresentanti Autoveicoli Esteri (UNRAE/National Union of Foreign Autovehicle Representatives) and funded by the Cargo Truck Association. The project will be launched through the sector’s largest associations as well as the National Salesian Centers Vocational & Professional Training Association.
Over the past few weeks, UNRAE has organized a tour to present the project in Verona, Palermo and at Bari’s Salesian Institute Redentore. Youth were told that the drivers of the future would no longer be simply mechanics, but closer to IT managers, working in hi-tech cockpits, using onboard instruments and keeping online contacts with companies and employers. Truck cabins of the future will also allow drivers to rest comfortably, shower and keep fit. They are also set up to be more comfortable and allow the driver to keep and maintain consistent contact with their families or friends.
“Even today, 85 percent of Europe’s cargo is delivered by truck, and with the right training there are many opportunities for employment,” said Franco Fenoglio, a UNRAE executive.
Salesian Provincial of southern Italy Father Angelo Santorsola praised the initiative and underscored how the UNRAE project is perfectly in line with the Salesian educational program. The Young Drivers Project will refund 80 percent of the expenses students incur in obtaining their certificates. An initial 500 youth will be trained in the first part of this project.
Italy, Europe’s third-largest economy, has close to 2 million children living in poverty, according to UNICEF. The poverty rate has risen in the wake of Europe’s economic crisis and unemployment is at its highest level since the late 1970s with the overall jobless rate at 12.5 percent and youth unemployment as high as 41 percent.
Salesian programs across Italy help youth who are unable to attend school and others who drop out to work at the few jobs available to them. A growing number of children work as laborers on farms and others have turned to the sex trade to help support their families. Those in poverty often live without adequate shelter, hot water, regular meals and health care. According to UNICEF, a growing number of youth are living away from their families in temporary shelters and within government and charity programs because of inadequate support from or neglect by their families. Salesian programs work to combat these challenges by providing shelter, nutrition, education and workforce development services for youth in need.
“Salesian missionaries know how important it is to provide poor and disadvantaged youth access to education and employment training both for the individual student’s professional development and for the economy,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian schools, youth centers and vocational training programs are educating poor youth and providing important social and vocational skills in Italy. The goal is to provide youth with the educational and job skills that will bring them livable wage employment and the opportunity to give back to their communities.”
UNICEF – Italy Poverty