ITALY: Salesian vocational training ensures youth access skills training and successfully enter the workforce
(MissionNewswire) Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco in Rome, Italy is one of several Salesian vocational training centers across the country. The schools provide youth the skills they need to enter the workforce and find and retain stable employment. This ensures that youth are able to escape conditions of poverty and live a productive life. Yden is one young student who benefited from Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco.
Yden came from Ethiopia to Italy with his father and his brothers in 2001 to join their mother who was already in the country. In 2006, he joined Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco in Rome and was able to attend vocational training for three years. He obtained a position as an intern in a company that produces trestles and now works there as a lathe operator. His story is the same as many youth who have been able to build their future thanks to their hard work and support of Salesian educators.
“At the beginning, it was not easy to relate with others, with my peers, especially because of the linguistic obstacle. After the first years in Italy, however, I managed to integrate. Now I have friends and people who help me and support me,” says Yden.
Yden has achieved success both in employment and his integration into Italy through education, specifically through vocational training. Vocational training centers continue to represent strong points of reference for many young people, especially those with fewer resources and with difficult personal backgrounds, many of whom are migrants, refugees and other youth at risk.
“Yden is the story of many young people who have been able to attend Salesian vocational training,” says Father Enrico Peretti, director general CNOS-FAP, the National Salesian Center for Vocational Training and Ongoing Education. “The essential thing to not lose oneself is to believe in one’s potential and in the Christian community as well as in civil society. In the end, our communities have the opportunity to welcome these young people as great resources.”
Fr. Peretti explains why Salesian vocational training is so successful. He says, “It is necessary to create personalized itineraries in which the child can have life experiences, especially through the working environment so they are able to develop personal values. In this context of inclusion, it is the children themselves who grow thanks to each other, always supported by educators.”
In the light of this experience, Yden gives advice to his many peers in search of their own personal and occupational path. He explains, “I have been helped so much by the educators. I have listened to them, and I have trusted them. It is important not to have oneself be transported along other roads and to instead work and study hard.”
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.
UNICEF – Italy Poverty