Putting the power in youth empowerment
PEPY Empowering Youth’s key goal is to increase the percentage of Kralanh graduates accessing skilled employment. To provide additional training for our scholarship students so they are well-prepared for future employment, we established the Learning Center.
A university degree does not necessarily equate to gaining a job. In 2012, the National Education Agency in Cambodia conducted a survey with businesses in Siem Reap to identify issues within the labor market. They found that there was a chronic skills shortage in high school and university graduates.
Key skills found to be lacking included soft skills such as leadership, interpersonal communication, critical and analytical thinking skills, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. Also lacking were hard skills such as English-language proficiency and computer (ICT) skills.
Youth Empowerment classes are one of three classes we offer at the Center and aim to develop these much-needed soft skills, alongside English and ICT classes. Students utilize these skills in discussions about global issues and the international community.
As well as learning and practicing these skills, we also believe it’s important for young people to be exposed to successful Cambodian professionals. We host speakers who have achieved success in their professional lives to share their stories.
We also facilitate forums with potential employers so students can learn more about the local job market. For example, this past February we held an employee forum with Mr. Sambath from GGEAR Company, an electronic supplier and retailer, and Mr. Seanghy from the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, an NGO. Both provided an overview of their organization, their job duties, and what is required to obtain a job at the organization.
What else has been happening recently in Youth Empowerment classes? So far this year the curriculum has included lessons on critical thinking, belief systems, globalization, self-esteem, positive mental health, development aid, budget planning, and money management. Students were also encouraged to start thinking about a project they’d like to implement in their community in Kralanh District.
Also in February, students participated in a coaching workshop led by two facilitators from the United Kingdom. The workshop taught students resources they can use in coaching someone with something they want to accomplish. Topics included were what it means to be a good listener, how to ask powerful questions, ways to recognize negative thinking, and how to identify steps to work towards accomplishing a goal.
In March, both first-year and second-year scholarship students went on a field trip to the Pactics factory in Siem Reap. Pactics is a manufacturer of microfiber accessories and is well-known for its commitment to corporate social responsibility, which is one of the main reasons we invited the students to visit them, alongside students gaining a deeper insight into the different roles available and the world of work.
We also hosted a one-day first-aid training course conducted by The Red Cross. The students learned about how to care for themselves and others if injured and put the theory into practice in mock situations.
Youth Empowerment classes were also treated to some yoga instruction from a local teacher. Most had never done yoga before and enjoyed trying something new and bonding with classmates. The students have very full schedules and this was a nice way to stretch, relax, and calm busy minds as a way to increase their overall wellbeing and mental health. They thoroughly enjoyed these reinvigorating sessions.
Lastly, second-year students have been busy preparing to apply for jobs and internships. For this group, Youth Empowerment class has focused on best practices for the job application and interview process. We’re pleased to advise that some students have already secured jobs.
Stay tuned here on our website and on our Facebook page for more updates on Youth Empowerment classes and the Learning Center.