Costa Rica celebrates the re-launch of the Youth Career Initiative

Opening Ceremony Marriott 2013

March 4th 2013 was an important day for the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) Costa Rica.

Two hotels, the Marriott Costa Rica San José and the Real InterContinental, celebrated the beginning of the second programme cycle of the initiative to take place in San José. This inauguration marked the official re-launch of YCI in Costa Rica after the programme had to be put on hold for several years, marking more growth for the popular youth employment scheme.

YCI was first piloted in San José in 2008 by the two hotel properties with an initial intake of 14 participants. However, the economic downturn led to the programme being inoperative for four years. This spring, the programme was re-launched with 22 new students supported by Aldeas Infantiles SOS (SOS Children’s Villages) Costa Rica, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to providing foster care to children and young people at risk. The organisation supports them in building their own future, advocates for their rights and participates in the development of their communities.

The Marriott hosted the inauguration event, which was attended by the new programme participants and the General Managers of the two participating hotels. The Youth Career Initiative is thoroughly embedded in the local community in all its programme markets and therefore the opening ceremony was also attended by representatives from the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA) and the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI), as well as by board members of Aldeas Infantiles and the technical team of the three Aldeas programs who had supported the young people throughout the recruitment process.

As part of the YCI course, the young participants will be attending over 750 training hours combining theoretical and practical classes. The latter include mentoring in life and work skills, with most of the teaching coming from senior managers and highly experienced associates from the hotels. At the end of the six-month programme, the students will be issued with an official certificate of achievement. The intensive training will considerably enhance the students’ chances of finding employment within and beyond the hospitality sector.

During the event, one of the great emotional moments was the presentation by a graduate from the first generation who has now secured a good job thanks to the training received through YCI. The General Managers of the participating hotels added that they had worked their way up the career ladder from entry-level positions. These contributions really inspired their young audience, proving that education and hard work are fundamental to a good future.

By the end of the event, all invitees enjoyed a coffee break and the students seized the opportunity to share their ideas and expectations with the staff from both hotels. 20 year-old Ligia looks forward to the new opportunities in professional and personal growth through participating in the training. Meanwhile Raquel, 18, points out that YCI can open doors in many places and hopes it will enable her to reach senior-level positions and to proactively build her own career.

The Youth Career Initiative is one of the practical programmes run by the International Tourism Partnership. It is exists throughout the world including Brazil, Mexico, India and Jordan. For more information go to www.youthcareerinitiative.org

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