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Youth Employment Centres in Peru and Bolivia

Since 2009, Cuso International and its partners have opened six Youth Employment Centres (CJEs) in Peru and Bolivia. These centres have helped more than 10,000 disadvantaged and vulnerable youth aged 15 to 29 set livelihood goals, gain employment or create jobs through entrepreneurship. The CJEs have gained recognition for their high user satisfaction survey scores (95 per cent) and small business success rates (over 60 per cent have made it past the three-year mark). In the process, Cuso International has become a stakeholder convenor, bringing together municipal governments, non-governmental and international organisations as well as youth-initiated institutions.

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No-cost services offered by the Youth Employment Centres in Peru and Bolivia:

1. Vocational orientation
Assist youth in making informed educational, training and occupational choices.
 
2. Employment services
Help youth find and keep jobs.

- Employment workshops
- Coaching and mentoring
- Job search strategies
- Resume and cover letter preparation
- Interview simulations
- Job fairs 

Youth have access to computers with Internet access, phones, a job board with full and part-time postings and volunteer opportunities, as well as local labour market information.
 
3. Entrepreneurship training
Equip youth with the entrepreneurial skills to start a business, or improve an existing one.

- Evaluation of entrepreneurial potential
- Goal setting
- Business planning
- Financial management
- Building a brand
- Marketing
- Networking and ICTs 

Seed funding is awarded to young entrepreneurs through an annual business plan competition.
 
In Lima, Peru, a  business incubator provides ongoing support and low-interest loans to young entrepreneurs.
 
4. Volunteering and community building
The CJEs are supported by Cuso International’s National Volunteering Program. It is a cost-effective and empowering way of leveraging the skills of citizens to contribute to the development of their own communities. Our approach is to provide assistance to organizations to develop and manage volunteer programs that respond to locally identified priorities.

So far, young men and women in Peru and Bolivia have contributed 5,000 volunteer hours. 

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