We recently welcomed a new member of the team to ITP. James Murdoch takes over as YCI Global Operations Manager helping to expand our programmes around the world and drive forward our partnerships with local non-profits and participating hotels working together to impact youth unemployment. He blogged for us about why the Youth Career Initiative is so crucial and what his experience brings to the role.
I am excited to have joined the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) Team as the Global Operations Manager, and I am highly motivated to work hard to increase the impact of what is already an outstanding programme.
Worldwide, one in four people is a young person aged between 15-29: around 1.8 billion people. While 87% of these young people live in developing countries, there are common issues that face them all. Unemployment disproportionately affects young people, and many young people find it hard to get the training or education needed to get stable employment. The total global figure for youth unemployment has recently risen to over 13% globally: around 71 million young people. This high figure, and worrying trend, has alarmed many experts:
“The alarming rise in youth unemployment and the equally disturbing high levels of young people who work but still live in poverty show how difficult it will be to reach the global goal to end poverty by 2030 unless we redouble our efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth and decent work.”
Deborah Greenfield – ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy.
To avoid a lost generation of young people who are left behind the rapid pace of globalisation, it is vital that programmes that train young people and give them the skillset be able to find stable employment are supported and expanded worldwide.
The YCI Programme has a unique model that connects disadvantaged young people and the survivors of human trafficking, who struggle to find training and work opportunities, with the global hotel industry. The programme has been running over 10 years and has had over 3000 graduates to date. This is a fantastic achievement, and there is great opportunity to build on this success.
Already whilst working at YCI I have seen the enthusiasm that this programme generates with our hotel partners, the non-profits who work alongside them, and of course the students in the programme. It seems to me that one of the key reasons the model works so well is that it is truly a “win-win” solution which connects hotels to a really motivated and talented workforce who are eager to learn and capitalise on their opportunity. I am particularly impressed with the buy-in to the programme at the highest levels of the hotel companies we work with: Accor Hotels, Carlson Rezidor, Diamond Resorts, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, NH, Soneva, Taj, Whitbread, Wyndham, and The HongKong and Shanghai Hotels.
Over the coming year, I will be focusing on expanding the YCI Programme to new countries and cities and ensuring that as many disadvantaged young people as possible have the opportunity to break the vicious cycle of poverty and move into meaningful careers.
In my previous work, I have focused on working with disadvantaged young people worldwide, with a particular focus on supporting the survivors of human trafficking. I am on the Board of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation UK, a charity which does exceptional anti-trafficking work in Vietnam. I hope to bring my experience and expertise in this area to my new role at YCI to support and expand the current work with survivors of human trafficking in YCI Programmes worldwide.