A global programme that works with hotels to provide training for disadvantaged young people has been shortlisted in the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.
YCI (the Youth Career Initiative ) is a programme of ITP (the International Tourism Partnership ) and has been selected as a finalist in WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow (T4T) awards in the People Category.
Selected from 157 applications, YCI has been shortlisted alongside two other programmes: Jus' Sail in Saint Lucia and Kinyei International in Cambodia. The winner will be announced at a ceremony to be held in Dallas, USA on 6th-7th April 2016.
YCI is a transformative programme for disadvantaged young people.
Recognising a pressing need to address the issue of youth unemployment around the world, and a simultaneous lack of skilled talent for recruitment within the hospitality industry, YCI works with 16 partner hotel companies and local non-profit organisations to bridge the gap by creating opportunities for young people and providing highly skilled young people for hotels who have been trained across a wide range of areas within the hotel operation.
YCI is a six-month education and training programme offered to unemployed youth with limited socio-economic opportunities in 15 countries across five continents. YCI works with young people who are unlikely to have a viable route into legitimate employment or be able to improve their situation without external help, including survivors of human trafficking. The programme provides students with transferable life and work skills that improve their employment opportunities and empower them to make informed career choices and positive life decisions.
Alberto Canovas Head of YCI said, “We’re honoured to have been selected by WTTC as a finalist in the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards’ People Category. If we are lucky enough to win, the award will give unprecedented exposure to the programme, supporting our growth plan and extending our impact, as well as helping thousands more YCI students around the world. This year marks a pivotal moment in the programme’s global expansion, allowing us to facilitate the training of around 2,500 young people every year by 2019.”
YCI’s success rate sees 85% of programme graduates go on to employment in hospitality or other sectors, or further education; including young people like Eunice, a survivor of human trafficking  and YCI graduate from Nairobi, Kenya who said, “At last, I can see my dream coming true. To some extent I had lost hope in life, but YCI came at the right time. Now, I can see my dreams coming true.”
Underpinning YCI’s ambitious growth plan is the generous support and commitment of ITP’s member hotel groups as well as an array of funders and foundations which allow the team and co-ordinators in Sao Paulo, Addis Ababa and Mumbai to continue their work to identify new programme opportunities whilst ensuring the success of existing programmes.
YCI operates thanks to the commitment of supporting partner hotels who mobilise their local properties to offer the training programme to local youth, and non-profit organisations who help identify and mentor the young people who participate. In some locations, other businesses and public agencies provide further support to the programme, including the provision of life-skills training and stipends respectively.
WTTC  is a global forum for business leaders within the tourism industry. It exists to raise awareness of Travel & Tourism as one of the world's largest industries, mobilising key players within the industry to adopt sustainable and responsible business practices. Their annual Tourism for Tomorrow Awards  celebrate best practice in responsible tourism globally, focusing on organisations’ positive impacts on the environment, economy and local communities.
Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Professor of Sustainability in Business and Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, The University of Surrey, said, “This year’s finalists reflect the importance of knowledge in creating a more sustainable tourism industry. We have organisations who have created carbon calculators, methods of measuring impacts, developed new technology and really thought outside the traditional confines of the sector. There is still no shortage of passion and determination to drive forward sustainability, but working smarter through networks, partnerships and high level thinking mark the future for sustainable tourism.”
Fiona Jeffery OBE, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Chair said, “It is great to see the depth and range of achievement the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are attracting. Greater innovation and longer term sustainable practises from right across the globe. We look to stretch the boundaries as an Awards Programme recognising and applauding true business leadership. It’s so encouraging to see such inspiring work being exemplified in this way as it helps our industry improve and ensure it brings better business practises to a wider community.”
More details about the awards and the full list of finalists can be found on the Tourism for Tomorrow website . The Finalists of the 2016 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which is Headline sponsored by AIG Travel, are:
Community Award Finalists, whose organisations are committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage
- Expediciones Sierra Norte, Pueblos Mancomunados, Mexico
- Sapa O'Chau, Vietnam
- Yayasan Ekowisata Indonesia, Indonesia
Destination Award Finalists, who show commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices in their destinations:
- Parkstad Limburg, Netherlands
- Swiss Parks Network, Switzerland
- V&A Waterfront, South Africa
Environment Award Finalists, whose organisations and companies achieved environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change, and green operations:
- Alcatraz Cruises, US
- Lindblad Expeditions, US and worldwide
- Wilderness Safaris, South Africa / Botswana
Innovation Award Finalists, who provided innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges faced by Travel & Tourism in implementing sustainability in practice:
- ANVR, the Netherlands
- Northsailing, Iceland
- PWC, Travel Foundation & TUI Group, United Kingdom
People Award Finalists, who are dedicated to the development of capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future:
- Jus' Sail, Saint Lucia
- Kinyei International, Cambodia
- Youth Career Initiative (YCI), United Kingdom