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PO Box 2826
Carol Stream, Illinois 60132

Toll Free: 1-800-793-9455

© 2024 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit. EIN: 540907624.

Vocational Training for Youth

Opportunity International invests in youth by developing technical training programs that encourage young people to pursue entrepreneurial ventures and equipping them with financial resources and training. With ongoing education, relationships with local business leaders, and start-up capital, young people have the resources they need to build a livelihood, support themselves, and contribute to their families' wellbeing.

The Need

Young people are heavily impacted by poverty and often face barriers such as lack of education, unemployment, discrimination, and inequality. They often have limited access to services, cannot build the appropriate skills to be able to gain decent jobs, and face barriers to participation in social and political life.

  • There are 1.8 billion young people (ages 16-35) in the world
  • 90% of these people live in the Global South
  • 80% of these people live in Africa
  • 15% of 15-24 year olds (270 million people) are not engaged in employment, education, or training

Our Programs and Products

Youth Apprenticeship Program, Ghana

In Ghana, the Youth Apprenticeship Program (YAP) pairs young people (ages 15-25) with successful business owners and artisans who mentor the apprentices for three years and provide training in a marketable craft or skill. Participants finish the program with a government-approved certification and comprehensive training in relationship building, business management, life planning, and health, in addition to their industry expertise. Upon graduation, they can apply for an Opportunity loan to start their own business.

At the end of 2023, the program has reached more than 3,000 participants.

Joyce (center), Youth Apprenticeship Mentor, Ghana
Joyce (center), Youth Apprenticeship Mentor, Ghana

Youth Enterprise Challenge, Uganda

Opportunity International invests in Uganda’s youth population by developing technical vocational training programs that encourage young people to pursue entrepreneurial ventures and equipping them with financial resources and training. With ongoing educational programs, relationships with local business leaders, and start-up capital, young people have the resources they need to build their own businesses, support themselves, and contribute to their families' wellbeing.

Since June 2023, two partner institutions have been identified with 30 participants each to pilot the Street Business School training model. Training runs for three months, after which we conduct evaluation and identify any recommendations for future training. We also track participants’ baseline at the beginning of training, allowing us to track holistic progress of the beneficiaries. From the lessons learned, and with the relatively low numbers of loans being disbursed under the program, we can measure output and outcome efficiently and effectively using such methodology as story capture of the participants.

In Mityana, we are scaling youth outreach and creating job opportunities. To date, 3,416 vocational students have received entrepreneurial/business training, and loan trends remain constant:

  • 65% of loans have been disbursed to graduates of electrical installation, appliances, and wiring certificates
  • 10% to fashions and design/tailoring graduates
  • 5% to hairdressing and cosmetology graduates
  • 3% to woodwork and carpentry graduates
  • 13.9% to tuition loans for students
  • 3.1% to “other”

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