An ‘end-to-end’ offer to find Meaningful Work through the YMCA: Accenture report

Topic: Vision 2030

Date: 04 September 2023

A new strategy

YMCA wants to identify how to make the biggest difference for young people and communities by connecting increasing skilling, learning and job opportunities for young people with decent jobs and opportunities to build sustainable livelihoods. With 264 million, or 1 out of every 5 young people out of education, employment or training (two-thirds of whom are women), this has the scope to tackle a significant – and worsening – issue.

In 2022/2023, the Development Partnership arm of the global consulting firm Accenture – with its ?WhatIf! Innovation team, and an advisory group of international partners and YMCA people – plotted an end-to-end path of what every young person needs from the YMCA in the world of work. 

They developed an ‘adaptive strategy’ for the Meaningful Work pillar of Vision 2030: an ‘end-to-end’ service of ‘opportunity platforms’ from helping young people find their ‘life project’ at the YMCA (what they like to do, and what they’re good at); to building the skills, knowledge and networks to finding their next job; or growing their enterprise or following skills pathways. All this, accompanied by a wrap-around ecosystem of support such as finding the right people with whom to journey, and maintaining balance in mind, body and spirit. 

“YMCAs are doing much more than providing young people with skills”, says World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee. “We are helping young people understand what they are best at, connecting them with opportunities to learn about jobs in the local labour market and beyond, and supporting them throughout their journey with mentoring, coaching and wellbeing.”

What does this mean in practice?

Take the examples of three young YMCA people – Adam in South Africa, and Cathy and Cameron in Scotland – whose Meaningful Work journey with the YMCA spanned all the stages of the strategy.

Where do we go from here?

The quest to help young people find Meaningful Work is the second Pillar of YMCA Vision 2030. YMCAs around the world are already addressing it in diverse and innovative ways, like apprenticeships, employment and career centres, digital skills and literacy. There’s a huge opportunity to make a difference simply by sharing best practice and learning across federations.

The task is to share the findings and help YMCAs determine how it relates to their existing programmes, and how it can enhance them.

Says Dorina Lluka, National General Secretary of YMCA Kosovo: “[The Accenture report] shows the path from the time a young person comes to the YMCA, joins in its activities, becomes more employable, finds jobs, or becomes an entrepreneur – this is largely what YMCAs already do, but it puts it in a document which is easy to understand and replicate.” 

Says Eugene Mbee, a member of the YMCA Meaningful Work Community of Impact from YMCA Cameroon: “This is a pathway for young people to genuinely engage with the YMCA, and for the YMCA to provide them with the opportunity to find their way to decent jobs … So read it, use it, share it: one YMCA, one Movement, one vision …”

We hear from people who worked on the report

George Brain, Accenture innovation specialist: “Our offering centred around taking a holistic approach to the problem and the individual, and I think that’s really closely aligned with the ‘secret sauce’ of the YMCA, which is your obsession with human-centricity.”

Lena Yan, program/policy expert to support the disadvantaged: “It’s great to see that YMCA invests in young people by taking into account their unique characteristics and aspirations”.