5.45am. Friday, September 9th. Puffy eyes and sleepy heads, the young adults from the ILP program were gathering themselves up in the little yard in front of Virlanie Foundation’s offices. They had swapped their street styles and caps, for a more formal look. It was a big day, they could feel it. In few hours, they would have travelled to the other side of town, up north to meet professionals and CEO of companies and working fields they could barely dare dream of.
6am. Seventeen teenagers piled themselves up in the van, hoping to beat up with the traffic, to go to Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.
The university, located in the northern part of Metro Manila, is one of the best in Asia. The establishment had been picked up by the French Embassy to host the event for its welcoming environment and several partnerships with French universities. In one of their newest buildings where the large windows open up on the greenery and trees, the youth of several NGOs and professionals from big groups and companies were meeting up for a first-time forum on youth employability in the Philippines. Together, they would discuss about their expectations, challenges on employment and proposed solutions to such challenges.
The event had been organized months prior to the day by the French Embassy which plans to do the event annually. “It’s a project that has been organized over several meetings and brainstorming sessions, but I’m glad to see all those young adults as well as companies gathered before my eyes. The different organizations involved in the mechanics really did a great job, “starts His Excellence Thierry Mathou, French Ambassador in the Philippines. “I hope to see this collaboration between our two nations and this forum happening again in the future, may it help us on putting a real friendship and solidarity between our two countries.”
The forum had been divided in two parts. The first part allowed all the guests to get to know each other a bit better, with testimonies from beneficiaries having found meaningful jobs regardless of their unfortunate backgrounds.
“Today, the Filipino government has put together numerous aids and infrastructures for youth” explains Ms. Ruth R. Rodrigues, Chief Labor an Employment Officer at the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), Philippines Department of Labor Employment (DOLE). “Thus, it is important to stay aware and informed as well as not hesitating to approach and get in touch with those. There’re opportunities out there, especially for the youth, despite today’s job market situation.“
It’s mainly on the realities and difficulties faced by youth and employers that the morning was focused on. Dispatched in groups and sat around tables, young adults from the different NGOS and professionals (mainly managers and HRs) discussed and exchanged ideas on how to tackle the difficulties of today’s market and exceed everyone’s expectations. While the main concern of the youth was having inadequate skills to qualify for jobs, the participating recruiters and companies were more concerned on the lack of commitment of the job seekers.
The second part of the forum was intended for youth and professionals to meet for mock job interviews (individual or collective). “It was really an interesting and rich experience” tells Kiara, teenager taking part in the ILP program. “We always have a rather intimidating and frightening idea of interviews, but today were different. Thanks to the workshop we had earlier, the interviews seemed easier. I had the chance to meet loads of very interesting persons. It really motivates me for pursuing my dreams and studies, getting a scholarship and later doing a job for which I’m passionate about.”
Independent Living Program aims to empower and support young adults to become self-sustaining and independent individuals. AccorHotels employees’ involvement in favor of Virlanie’s activities is strong and linked with a variety of areas wherein help is needed most. Solidarity AccorHotels, endowment fund of the Group, supports more specifically the professional integration activities of Virlanie’s Independent Living Program (ILP), where fifty (50) young adults are being accompanied towards the road to complete independence.
If you like to know more about the ILP program, contact us at [email protected].