A better future for unemployed street youth
MANILA, Philippines – After graduating from college, Maureen Galvero became a bystander without any future plans. She was one of the thousands of unemployed young adults in the Philippines.
The country had an unemployment rate of 7.3% in 2013, the highest in Southeast Asia, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). In January, this number rose to 7.5%. Socioeconomic Planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the recent calamities and the growing labor force were the main causes for this increase.
Balisacan added that the people from disaster-stricken areas migrate to other places such as National Capital Region (NCR) in search for employment, which led to NCR having an unemployment rate of 11.2%.
Youth employment programs
To answer this growing economic problem, the government and private agencies create projects that aim to ease the country's youth unemployment problems.
For Maureen, it was Ayala Foundation Inc.’s (AFI) latest youth program, Careers for Street Youth (CSY), that helped her.
CSY, headed by LiveIt Investments, Street Kids International and AFI, trains underprivileged youth for possible future employment. Together with company partners, they were able to prepare 27 individuals for employment on their first run. Maureen was one of them.
This year’s second batch of 30 youth members will undergo workplace skills readiness training, on-the-job training, life-coaching and mentoring.
According to Joseph Anthony Quesada, Youth Leadership programs manager of AFI, the foundation aims to provide the needed skills as assistance to the future of the participants.
“The goal is to provide the skills, attitude, and exposure to help the youth become productive members in their communities and help find long-term employment and improve their financial situations," he explained.
For Maureen, the program did not just enhance her technical skills. It also gave her a chance for self-development.
“Nadevelop ‘yung self-esteem ko, my goals and personality. Kaya ko palang humarap sa maraming tao nang hindi ako nahihiya. Mayroon naman pala akong something na maipagmamalaki," she said. (I developed my self-esteem, my goals and personality. I can actually face a large crowd without feeling shy. I have something to be proud of.)
The 21-year old young professional said she now sees herself still working on the same company but on a higher position.
“Kailangan mong mag-step up. Hindi pwedeng constant lang na nandoon ka lang lagi. Darating yung time na ikaw rin kailangan mong itaas yung sarili mo," Galvero added. (You need to step up and not stay constant. A time will come that you need to pick yourself up)
The first batch of the program, mostly from Bagong Silang, Caloocan and Tondo, Manila are now working as administration specialists, data processors, data analysts and customer service representatives, among other positions.
“We want to get (them) employed by providing inputs through the program: mentorship, job readiness training, on-the-job training, and one-on-one coaching to give them a better chance of getting there," Quesada added.
Geographic location was taken into consideration in choosing the participants. The second batch came from Barangay Pansol and Kaingin Road areas because most employment partners are in Quezon City.
Other projects for the youth by AFI include Ayala Young Leaders Congress, a four-day leadership seminar for student leaders from top universities, and Leadership Communities, a leadership program for far-flung areas such as Cagayan de Oro and Baguio. – Rappler.com
Anna Galura and David Elevazo are Rappler interns.