Into The Working World With Their Hopes And Dreams


Entering the working world after graduation is an exciting yet daunting chapter in life. Youth fresh out of school need to prepare for many things and have many questions as they start their job hunting. As they encounter challenges while establishing their career, they would need all the support they can get, especially in the pandemic. 

SOS Children’s Villages Philippines launched YouthCan! in response to the needs of young people and the challenges they face in getting employment. The condition of youth employability in the Philippines further emphasized the youth’s needs and aspirations when it comes to their future. 

To shed some light on our youth’s goals and their journey in reaching them, we take a look at the employability situation of young people from SOS Children’s Village in Lipa. 

Preparing for the working world 

Looking for work as a young person can be challenging, especially when you face disadvantages in education and work experience. 

One of the youths who grew up with SOS Lipa, Arlene*, studied Hotel and Restaurant Management to get a job in the fine dining industry, particularly in cruise ships. She talked about how during her job-hunting phase, some companies and organizations she would apply to would actually require a certain number of years of experience despite the encouragement for fresh graduates to apply. Because of the meticulous physical and career requirements of fine dining establishment, it took Arlene a while until she finally found work in fine dining to build experience.  

However, like most job-hunting youths, Arlene also experienced the halt brought upon by the pandemic as she tried to apply for fine dining in a cruise ship. To keep earning as the breadwinner of the family while staying safe, she decided to work nearby in logistics for an express delivery company. 

Arlene would sometimes visit her SOS family with a box of pastries she baked herself. However, she hasn’t been able to put them into practice lately due to lack of opportunities. 

Youths like Arlene who entered the village or participated in its programs came from families living in poverty. Many of them suffered from malnutrition and poor health conditions which impacted their cognitive development and their physical growth.  This poses a challenge to youth who try out for jobs that place some emphasis on physical requirements.  

Children and youth are supported with medical and nutritional interventions so they can grow healthy and strong. Support includes providing them with nutritious food, vitamins and encouraging them to join sports. Some youths have also been vaccinated against COVID. 

Apart from their health and nutrition, poverty also affected their studies. Many youths are either non-schoolers or were delayed with their education, and those who manage to continue their studies struggle with coping with academic requirements. Additionally, Lipa’s specialization in the food and banking industries limits job opportunities for our young people and would most likely require a college degree from them.  

Some workplaces sometimes require more than a college degree, which can make job hunting a bit more challenging. In a recent needs assessment survey, many youths expressed sentiments about creating more and better job opportunities while also giving more leeway in terms of qualifications and requirements, especially for entry-level jobs. 

Auntie Vicky, one of the social workers in Lipa, talked about interventions to help the youth with their career paths. “The youths are being assisted in aligning their skills and interests in choosing the strand for their senior high school and their course in college. Career orientation and counselling are being done by the educators and social workers to help them make an informed choice for their future.” 

To further help them understand the working world, the youth are exposed firsthand to various companies and industries in Lipa. They were also taught other job-hunting skills such as writing resumes and application letters, and acing job interviews. Furthermore, youths above 18 are encouraged to seek part-time work over the summer breaks not just to earn extra allowance but also to have firsthand experience in the workplace. 

What do they want to see in the world? 

Career-related dreams and inspirations for the youth is not limited to just their choice of school or work. Many youths’ dreams are either personal or for a greater cause. For Arlene, she chose HRM for a number of reasons aside from financial. Cooking is one of her hobbies that she picked up from watching their SOS mother cook delicious meals. From a hobby, it became a passion of hers that she eventually pursued by taking HRM in her tertiary education. 

Arlene* looking beautiful in her HRM uniform. 

Arlene is one of many youths with dreams apart from her personal reasons. Aside from more job opportunities and more leeway in job requirements, many youths want to see a working world that allows them to grow and learn more about their abilities and their dreams. They want to see a world with kind and responsible people, where discrimination is not tolerated. Most of all, they want to be in a working world where young people like them can reach their dreams. 

Through YouthCan!, we can help more youth as they transition from school to the working world and reach their dreams. 

These aspirations and challenges in the working world and youth employability are what YouthCan! aim to address. Many young people struggle to find good work, be it from lack of opportunities to learn or from circumstances that hinder them from reaching their full potential. By volunteering through YouthCan! and sharing our skills and experiences with them, we can help them prepare for the working world and live independently.  

By guiding the youth on the path to decent work, we are helping them shape their future and that of the world they dream of. 

International Labour Organization Country President Khalid Hassan stated in the YouthCan! Launch: “The success of the youth matters in building a brighter and better future of work. We need to invest in the future of the youth and leave no one behind.” 

You too can help us guide our youth on the path from school to work. Visit

*not real name