Youth Pathways to Leadership, Learning, and Livelihoods in Costa Rica
The project is helping bridge the skills gap in Costa Rica by increasing the number and quality of on-the-job training programs, such as internships and apprenticeships, while ensuring these opportunities are accessible to the youth who need them the most. The project is supporting improvements in the legal and policy framework surrounding youth training, raising awareness about the benefits of work-based training, documenting and disseminating good apprenticeship practices in Costa Rica, and helping both public and private-sector youth training programs to increase their effectiveness.
In 2016, Costa Rica’s national statistics agency estimated youth unemployment at 16.6 percent, nearly twice the national average, and estimated that 17 percent of youth ages 15 to 24 neither study nor work. Unemployed youth without qualifications often turn to the informal sector for livelihoods, where they find many fewer protections and work under harmful and exploitative conditions. At the same time, a 2015 survey by Manpower reported that 46 percent of employers could not fill job vacancies due to lack of experience and technical training among applicants.
This project brings together key government agencies, employers, workers’ organizations, and civil society to collaborate on establishing and expanding work-based training programs for youth, such as apprenticeships, with a focus on including vulnerable and marginalized youth. To do this, the project is helping identify improvements that can be made to laws and policies that would help businesses launch quality work training programs, providing tools and technical knowledge to employers and workers’ organizations to help them implement work-based training programs, and helping existing job training programs reach young people who are at high risk of becoming engaged in hazardous activities.
The project focuses on building the capacity of national-level stakeholders, as well as that of local organizations currently implementing promising youth training models in the Limón district.