Sufficient information and preparation for finding a job after school is not always available to disadvantaged teenagers in Bulgaria. This includes youths without parents, from minority or geographically marginalized communities or with otherwise limited access to professional development resources. This project provides group and 1-to-1 career education and mentoring with the goal of helping youths break the cycle of poverty in their families and communities.
1 in 6 Bulgarians aged between 15 and 24 are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET). The ratio of NEETs among disadvantaged youths is higher still, as is the need for employment. Unfortunately, the support these young people receive is often lacking: parents, if present, are often preoccupied with providing for the family, and schools in marginalized communities rarely offer effective career education and skill development. We have set out to address this information imbalance
In a year-long program of career workshops, SfB engages professionals from the local communities to provide education and mentorship for children who are less likely to enter adulthood as successful and financially independent individuals. We recruit volunteers who have fulfilling careers in various areas to share their professional path as a motivational example. When youths express interest, we pair them with individual mentors to guide and empower them in their professional development.
The project will promote the career development of 400 at-risk high schoolers so they can be more informed and motivated as they enter the job market. Those who choose to further their education will have a better idea what school to choose based on their aspirations. Upon successful piloting, Step for Bulgaria will scale the project to reach twice as many teenagers. Our long-term goal is to make the project a part of the high school curriculum, enabling career development for every youth.