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Inspiring Youth through Innovative Workplace-learning

Jul 28, 2016, 10:05 AM

To help inspire and prepare young people for a rapidly changing and highly competitive job market, the GE Foundation is launching an innovative learning programme, to provide 16 to 18 year olds with practical work experience in STEM careers for the workforce of tomorrow.  STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

On the occasion of the UN’s World Youth Skills Day, the GE Foundation in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) has committed to quality, workplace-based experience for an under-served and critical age group.

The programme, called the Global Youth Internship Programme, will start in Boston, to be managed by the Boston Private Industry Council, and then expand globally in partnership with international NGOs.

“Developing the talent pipeline for the future lies at the heart of our business strategy,” said Beth Comstock, GE Vice Chair.

“This programme is a great example of the investment GE is making in training and development. The internships will focus on STEM and disruptive technologies, including digital fabrication, advanced manufacturing and software development.”

Currently, GE manages a university internship programme which trains over 8,000 interns globally each year.

This new innovation programme, by reaching pre-University students and giving them a chance to work alongside professionals in high-tech environments, seeks to encourage their interest in STEM studies (which stands for science, technology, engineering and math) and align education with the increasing technical skills needed for a changing job market and knowledge economy.

“The GE Foundation is committed to supporting youth by equipping them with the skills essential to their success in the workforce of today and tomorrow. We’re focused on creating access to education, skills, and training so that we can ensure today’s youth can meet the demands of the global marketplace,” stated Deb Elam, President of the GE Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer at GE.

Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director-General of the ILO’s Field Operations and Partnerships stated that “the global youth employment crisis requires innovative solutions between business, schools and international organizations to prepare youth for a highly competitive job market.

“GE is showing leadership in a very practical way and we hope that other companies will take up this challenge and join us in preparing youth for the future.”

The internship programme, in partnership with the Boston Private Industry Council, will start hiring interns first at GE’s new headquarters in Boston in 2017. They plan to scale the programme globally shortly after this initial roll-out.

Through this programme, students will be exposed to innovation centers and Brilliant Career Labs around the globe. These labs will provide students with the first-of-its-kind interactive experience using technology such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, milling machines, and programming tools.

The ILO estimates that there are 73.3 million young people unemployed globally with many millions of young people in low-income countries leaving school to take up jobs in the informal economy and precarious work.

In his statement Mr Houngbo said: “Almost 43 per cent of the global youth labour force is still either unemployed or working yet living in poverty.

“It’s not easy to be young and starting out in today’s labour market. This Internship Programme, when expanded to the global marketplace, can help young people increase their chances of decent work and a better life for themselves and their families.”

Source: GE Africa

“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth. ”