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SPAIN: Salesian-run Pinardi Federation’s First Professional Experience Program Placed Close to 75 Percent of its Participants into Employment

(MissionNewswire) The Pinardi Federation of Salesian Social Platforms, in collaboration with the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, launched the First Professional Experience program at the end of 2014. Within the first year, the new program was able to improve the employability of 97 youth and help find employment for 73 of them. The program results were presented in the Fall of 2015 at the American Space Madrid in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States of America in Madrid, Spain.

The First Professional Experience program provided internships and hands-on work experience to its participants who were placed into a business where they worked for up to four months. Each participant was accompanied by a professional tutor who motivated them and guided their professional development and specialized training within the company. Many of the most well-known companies in the hospitality and tourism industries participated in the program including Meliá Hotels International, Hilton Madrid Airport, Grupo Vips, Parques Reunidos, KFC and the Accenture Foundation.

Javier Llorente, president of the Pinardi Foundation, noted that the program has proved to be an effective way of ending youth unemployment. He also explained that the foundation began by focusing its efforts on students and their individual goals and educational needs and then matched them with the most suitable company.

Pedro Boada, managing director of JP Morgan in Spain, spoke at the presentation of the program about how the successful results demonstrate that collaboration between companies and social organizations ensures youth have access to a better future. He also noted that the program will help to provide better growth prospects for Spain.

Hard hit by the current economic troubles in Europe, Spain now has the greatest inequality of the 27 countries of the European Union. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. One in five citizens are living below the poverty line and poor youth with too few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment.

“With so many young people out of work and facing conditions of poverty in Spain, it is vital for Salesian workforce development programs to respond to market demand,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students in these programs have a real opportunity to enter the workforce prepared both in terms of the skills they have learned and in their social development, ensuring a lifelong ability to retain livable wage employment and escape poverty.”

Since its inception in 2001, the Pinardi Federation has been developing programs to help poor youth between the ages of 12 and 16 and is currently operating close to 40 projects aiding more than 2,000 youth. Projects focus on promoting the quality of children’s lives, helping youth retain employment and supporting migrants through family mediation. Other community projects work to raise awareness of volunteerism.

For its youth employment projects, the Pinardi Federation develops training programs that collaborate directly with the business sector so that students learn marketable skills and make an easier transition from coursework into employment. It encourages the business community to take an active role in program development as well as meeting with students to help shape standards and students’ academic and social development, ensuring greater opportunities for employment after graduation.



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