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Pact for Youth-2020: companies that changed lives of young people in 4 years

CSR Ukraine, an expert organization “Centre for CSR Development”, together with the UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine, held a quarterly meeting of the Pact signatories on the occasion of the initiative’s anniversary. The meeting was held for the first time in an online format, with about 30 representatives of Ukrainian companies discussing the implemented youth initiatives, as well as plans for 2020. The Pact for Youth-2020 was first launched on March 17, 2016 to unite the efforts of companies, the state, and education in addressing the employment problems of young Ukrainians. Over the four years of the initiative, 146 employers from different regions of Ukraine joined the Pact, 70 of which actively implement youth employment programs.

The Pact has been recognized at the European level as one of the most efficient initiatives for youth, while at the global level it has been characterized by UNO as one of the best practices in achieving SDG #8. Marina Saprykina, the board chair of the Centre for CSR Development and initiator of the Pact noted:

“4 years ago, we and our partners, namely the United Nations Population Fund and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine, signed the Pact for Youth, and we are now facing a very important stage of the initiative development. By joint efforts, we have held dozens of events in more than 20 cities in Ukraine and facilitated employment of over 40,000 young people. This year will be the final year for the Pact, and we aim at making it an incredibly cool tool for the further employment of youth and showing social responsibility of Ukrainian companies”.

According to Pavlo Zamostyan, Deputy UNFPA Representative, the role of the Pact will be growing in future, as young people will face new needs and challenges.

“The Pact for Youth was designed as an initiative that showed practical solutions and approaches to cooperation between business, government, academic institutions, and youth organizations in addressing youth employment issues and increasing their competitiveness. Today, we need to analyze the challenges and think about developing a specific action plan”.

Pavlo Zamostyan calls for special attention to be paid to the role and involvement of regional companies in youth development on the regional level. According to him, one of the commitments under the Pact is to provide opportunities for the development and employment of youth not only in big cities but also in the remotest parts of Ukraine.

Oleksandr Yarema, Head of the State Agency for Development of Youth and Civil Society, emphasized the importance of consolidating efforts for youth employment.

“Starting with a small pilot initiative, we have made a long way in the 4 years of the Pact. For the Ministry, it is one of the first major programs seeking to combine the efforts of business, government, and civil society for the sake of specific goals set out in the Pact. These goals are crucially important for the Ukrainian youth, since these are new jobs, new internship programs, as well as partnerships between education and business. In the face of new challenges, we ought to do everything possible to provide young people with new opportunities for unfolding their full potential”.

During the quarterly meeting, representatives of the signatory companies gave insight into the projects on youth employment implemented in their companies. For example, Kredobank implements the “Absolvent” program and provides a unique opportunity for senior students and university graduates to start working while still at high school. Students of the 4-5 year and university graduates have the opportunity to get a formal employment and work in various departments of the Bank for 10 months.

”This year, we have increased the number of participants in the program from 20 to 40 students. Thanks to this program, the Bank has quite a high-quality candidate pool of young employees and can offer them a job”, says Viktor Halychynskyi, the Head of the Press Office of JSC "Kredobank".

In 2020, Ukrtelecom plans to continue internships for technical specialties students, as well as to launch the eighth season of the project “Best with Ukrtelecom". This is a show where students meet with top managers of some companies in person and may ask questions via a Career Start Telegram-channel.

Nestle pursues a goal to launch dual education in vocational training for young people, while Syngenta, an agrochemical company, goes on with its "Generation A" educational project enabling students of agricultural universities to participate in agronomy, marketing, sales, and soft skills training modules. By the results of training, the best students are offered internships.

Following the presentation of their own programs, the participants discussed a number of proposals to improve the Pact in 2020 including: to raise awareness among authorities about the initiative, launch online activities, conduct an add value survey for signatories, study practice of foreign legislation on privileges for companies that employ youth, create a joint working group with the Ministry of Education to discuss cooperation between business and education, involve active trainers, overcome the bureaucratization problem, unite efforts of Ukrainian high school rectors to address the issue of qualified workforce training, and employ youth at Ukrainian companies.