Beyond the Workforce: Youth Skills Instill Self-Esteem and Confidence

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Beyond the Workforce: Youth Skills Instill Self-Esteem and Confidence

According to the UN, there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 percent of the global population. By 2030, this number is projected to grow by 7 percent, to nearly 1.3 billion.

Youth skills training is crucial to ensure that the next generation is equipped with the tools and education necessary to join the workforce and contribute to the overall economy, while ensuring that their own families are cared for. Additionally, skills development plays a role in enhancing youth self-esteem, confidence, and is a means of self-expression, which nourishes their whole being.

At Canadian Feed The Children, we celebrate and champion all the youth in our partner communities worldwide who are making a difference for their families and themselves. By expanding their skills and knowledge, they are working hard towards unlocking their full potential.


FAST FACTS ON YOUTH SKILLS 

For young people, unemployment, underemployment and poor job quality are persistent and daunting issues.

groupf og students in chef hats putting ingredients into a bowlYouth are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, with the current global youth unemployment rate at 15.58%.

Worldwide, many young people are engaged in low-paying, precarious or informal work. In fact, three out of four young workers are employed in the informal economy, which typically does not provide decent or meaningful work.

The challenges of securing and retaining decent work are even more serious and complex for those experiencing poverty, young women, and racialized youth.

That’s why it’s important for youth skills training programs, like those created and run by our local community partners, to ensure that youths have the ability to advance themselves positively and safely.


A SWEET RESPONSIBILITY: CHOCOLATE-MAKING IN BOLIVIA

One of the many youth skills programs run by our local Bolivian partner SCSJ is absolutely delicious: chocolate making! In this class, students learn to perfect the art of chocolatiering and develop the business acumen necessary to sell their products locally.

a young girl in an april stands in a kitchen holding baked goods

Daniela, one of Ofelia's students, stands proudly with her baked goods.

Teacher Ofelia has noticed demonstrable change in her students since the implementation of the program, including a heightened sense of self, confidence, and responsibility.

What I appreciate most is that the students take responsibility for the schedule in the kitchen and show enthusiasm for participating in the chocolate program. They arrive at the workshop on their own and are eager to engage. The program allows for flexibility, allowing students to propose their own recipes. This expands skills in self-expression, collaboration, and sharing, as students help each other and share resources in the kitchen,” she tells us.

Ofelia observes that the students have become more proactive and creative, showing a keen interest in preparing and improving recipes since joining the program. Their business skills have helped establish them as entrepreneurs who are fit to sell anything, from chocolates to homemade pizzas.

As Ofelia explains, most of the students face challenges at home from overworked parents to a lack of direction and guidance, and these workshops provide young people in her community with the opportunity to gain valuable skills across many facets of life.

Two students roll dough in a kitchen

Ofelia's students are set up for success with these vital (and delicious) life skills.

The students demonstrate great entrepreneurial spirit, sharing both their knowledge and resources with others, which I find the most valuable aspect of this program,” she says.

What’s resonating with the students is their expanding repertoire of recipes produced. Daniela, one of Ofelia’s students, tells us that while some recipes are failures, it always provides a good learning opportunity. “At first my oatmeal pancakes all stuck together, but now I’ve practiced and they’re good enough to sell. I like to sell chocolates, strawberry-filled cocadas, and other treats to my mother, classmates, and other family. I both earn and invest money now!

From recipe creation to marketing skills, from increased self of purpose to economic prowess, the students in Ofelia’s workshops are developing a renewed spirit and passion for their futures while learning many crucial life skills that can transfer to any field - now THAT’S a sweet success!

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This [program] expands skills in self-expression, collaboration, and sharing, as students help each other and share resources in the kitchen.
Ofelia, teacher, bolivia

CONFIDENCE THROUGH THE KEYBOARD: COMPUTER TRAINING IN GHANA

In Kulinkpegu, one of CFTC’s rural partner communities in Ghana, computers were once a conceptual idea, with students only seeing pictures of computers in textbooks but never having the opportunity to use one physically.

group of students on computers

Awal teaches his students the fundamentals of computer basics, which is greatly expanding their knowledge and helping their classwork,

Thanks to our local partner, RAINS, and generous CFTC supporters, the community has created a brand new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) centre equipped with 15 desktop PCs, 5 UPS systems, an internet router, and many tables and chairs for the students to learn. This centre is bringing a world of difference to the students, as they gain valuable computer skills, and get a much-needed confidence boost.

Teacher Awal instructs the youth in his classes on a wide range of important computer topics from typing skills to Excel formulas. “I know all the parts of a computer and their functions, I know how to boot, use Word for typing, Excel to sum figures among other operations. Learning has become easier,” explains Asana, one of Awal’s pupils.

Computer skills training knows no age as Awal and his fellow teachers are expanding their own knowledge daily through the new ICT centre. He tells us that before the centre, “all ICT lessons were taught in abstract through pictures of computers, and many teachers including me did not have a full grasp to deliver ICT lessons effectively.” However, that’s all changed as, “now both the students and the teachers can feel and touch the computer and see clearly what the teacher is teaching them.

These computers have streamlined the teaching process for Awal as well, as he now “has learned new skills such as drawing, typing, and using the computers to compute the grades of pupils.” He continues, “I also connect the computer with the Internet and can research key topics when I am preparing my lesson plans.” This has expanded Awal’s teachings, which in turn has expanded his students’ knowledge. Having access to this vital equipment is accelerating youth education in the community through more rich and engaging activities.

Beyond just the programs on the computer, the ICT centre has unlocked another crucial benefit for the community - confidence. Having fully functioning computers, and not just pictures in a book, has instilled a great sense of self and boosted confidence in both the students and teachers.

Awal’s lesson planning has become enhanced from Internet access, and given him the confidence to know he is teaching his students to their full potential. As he explains, “before the ICT computers, teachers had to struggle to make photocopies from our colleagues in town, and sometimes we just taught based on our own understanding. I sometimes felt I was not prepared enough to teach some topics because I could not access any reference material for lessons.”

headshot of a girl on a computer

Asana has gained a much-needed confidence boost, knowing her education matches those of her peers around the country.

However, since the computers, that’s all changed. It is much easier to plan good lessons and my confidence in teaching has increased because I feel prepared,” he says.

I’m learning so much from the ICT lessons. Even though my community is small, I feel like I am in a good school, just like my peers in bigger towns and cities. This motivates me to come to school and learn hard,” Asana tells us. Having these computers has increased her learning tenfold and given her the faith to know that her learning is on the same level as neighbouring schools.

The community of Kulinkpegu knows for certain that this ICT centre will create a positive ripple effect for generations to come. Volunteer teacher Kadijah understands how regular computer access for communities will accelerate learning across all grades.

For this community, the ICT centre will lead to improved learning outcomes for all school children and we just know that all of these children will perform well in their examinations, and continue to progress to Junior and Senior High schools, and further to tertiary education, because of the computers.


PERSONAL GROWTH THROUGH SKILLS TRAINING 

Youth skills training is a cornerstone of both individual and societal advancement. By investing in the development of young people’s skills, we ensure a brighter future with economic prosperity, personal fulfillment, and an end to generational poverty.

Equipping young individuals with a broad range of skills prepares them for professional success and personal growth, helping them become well-rounded, confident, responsible, and expressive individuals.