For youth poised to transition to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, they had one of their most effective resources for support—access to social capital—restricted. Particularly for vulnerable youth with few personal connections to workplaces, movement restrictions and a shift to mostly virtual and remote work meant that they had to navigate workplace challenges on their own.
The Virtual First Job (VFJ) program addresses this challenge by connecting vulnerable youth in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand with trained mentors recruited from private sector partners and education and training institutions. These mentors accompany youth for their first three months in new jobs or in internships to serve as allies and sounding boards as youth navigate their first workplace challenges. Mentors also support youth in developing a growth mindset and in thinking about future career goals. In return, mentors gain insight and experience working with youth from a range of backgrounds that they can carry forward to support inclusion goals in their own workplaces.
Following are the key activities of the Virtual First Job program:
- Train mentors recruited from an array of local and multinational private sector partners and educational institutions on coaching and mentoring
- Pair trained mentors with vulnerable youth
- Accompany youth-mentor pairs through a coaching cycle that lasts for the first three months of a young person’s new job or placement in an internship
- Train and certify at least 150 mentors on the VFJ’s Coaching and Mentoring for Career Growth in the Digital Economy program
- Support mentors in completing at least six hours of youth-mentoring sessions over the VFJ cycle
- Connect at least 150 youth across the three countries to trained mentors to ensure vulnerable youth entering the world of work during the COVID-19 pandemic have access to social capital networks
- Certify at least 150 youth, across the three countries, who have completed VFJ’s Professional Development Program for Career Readiness in the Digital Economy
Accenture, Bank of America