When the European Social Fund’s Youth and Work project with the Luxembourg ministry of labour came to an end in 2018, three participants refused to give up and turned it into an independent social impact company. The aim of the company is to help young people find work or training free of charge until they sign a long-term contract, in exchange for a few hours of voluntary work.
To finance its activities, the organisation, which has five coaches and currently one vacant post, relies on contracts with 34 municipalities.
Having seen 2,500 young people pass through its doors, it has come up with a new way of giving them the self-confidence they need to get back to work: the Future Generation programme. “The principle is that companies contact us to develop a sustainable project," says director Ariane Toepfer. It does not have to be urgent, nor does it have to be part of the company's core business. The hundred or so youngsters currently registered with Youth and Work can then participate on a voluntary basis if they are interested. This is an opportunity for them to regain confidence, demonstrate their skills, and maybe even end up with an employment contract.
Youth and Work hopes to carry out 18 projects in 28 months, with an average of 15 young people in each.
6 out of 18 projects
"We are convinced that we will have 18 participating companies," says Toepfer. "Five companies have already contacted us," she says, without revealing their names. In addition, the Luxembourg Center for Circular Economy (LCCE), which will launch the creation of a waste museum next week. 25 volunteers have already joined the project.
Youth and Work will also be able to count on the support of the Chamber of Crafts, the Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Employees, which are partnering the project and plan to promote it to companies in their sector.
The participating companies themselves finance the projects they develop through Future Generation, but not the workforce, as the young people work on a voluntary basis. "They can also identify someone" who they could then hire, even if "this is not the primary objective", reiterated Toepfer. The aim is above all to "show young people the potential they have. Once they notice that people believe in them, they develop at a remarkable speed."
Hope for a follow-up
Youth and Work had launched a similar project last November, from which “14 of the 15 participants went on to find employment."
Once they notice that people believe in them, they develop at a remarkable rate.
The cost of the programme--mainly covering the coaching of young people aged in average between 22 and 23--amounts to €700,000. It will be co-financed by André Losch’s foundation and the Oeuvre nationale--Grand Duchess Charlotte national relief service.