Project SEED in Uruguay is open for business. After kicking off in December 2018, classes began in May, making it the fifth country (along with Colombia, Brazil, India, and Thailand) to have moved from the theory to the practice of preparing disadvantaged young people for successful careers.
It didn’t take long for thyssenkrupp Elevator volunteers in Uruguay to construct a tailored job-training program for young people from SOS Children’s Villages. The seven volunteers unveiled their first workshop at a hotel in Montevideo for 28 young participants.
This newest model of Project SEED combines intensive teaching with recreation, giving participants the experience of a business trip as well as an opportunity to socialize with and learn from others. Courses ran from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, followed by the opportunity to relax and mingle on tours, as well as at dinner, the beach, and the cinema.
Serious business often requires cooperation and reflection.
“There was a lot of clarity and simplicity in the explanations, with an excellent selection of topics for the workshops so that I can apply them to everyday life.”
J.C.: a 17-year-old Project SEED participant
Youth participants were pleased with the coursework and the format. “I liked how the information was presented, as well as learning what a company is,” was a typical response, as was “I liked the positive energy and good vibes.”
Participants also had a lot of suggestions for how to make Project SEED even better. A number of these focused on strengthening the group formation and participation parts of the program, for example: “more group activities,” “more role-play,” and “more encouragement of shy group members.”
That desire for more togetherness also covered free-time activities. For example, the young people expressed a request for a soccer tournament to better foster group integration. Apparently, the young people have already learned that teamwork is important for doing good work and living a good life.
“(The volunteers) provided us with a lot of information and very good tools. For instance, I thought it was very important to know the rights and obligations of employees.”
M.G.: a 17-year-old Project SEED participant
With limited time to prepare the courses, the seven thyssenkrupp Elevator Project SEED volunteers threw themselves into the task. Their skills and knowledge were the basic building blocks, but what enabled them to transform that raw material into a finished product was their desire to help these young people to get good jobs. Their dedication made all the difference.
Project SEED now has three distinct models or ways with which to deliver high-quality job training to young people. The Uruguay model is primarily based on the model pioneered in Brazil and also used in Colombia, but includes aspects of the concentrated approach first used in India.
Much like in a garden, Project SEED grows and flowers according to both the common DNA of the global program and the specific growing conditions of each country where it is planted. Some things are fixed; some are not.
But what is always true is that relationships are at the heart of Project SEED, just as they are with any successful learning or formational experience. That means both the relationships that grow among the students, and between each student and the volunteers.
“I liked every activity we had, the company’s volunteers, and their great attitudes, as well as the way the workshops and presentations were done.”
M.R.: an 18-year-old Project SEED participant
Five countries are currently participating in Project SEED. All are actively running courses. Uruguay’s first class is set to graduate in November. Once thyssenkrupp Elevator volunteers and SOS Children’s Villages staff have assessed this experience, they’ll be ready to launch the next phase in opening the doors to future employment for young people in Uruguay.
“The most important thing for me was to feel that this was a space for personal growth, where you can socialize and meet SOS-Villagers from other parts of the country.”
I.S.: an 18-year-old Project SEED participant
Tackling poverty and unemployment in underprivileged communities, our Uruguay social work projects give young people the skills to find gainful employment.To the project