Initiated in 2017, Youth Empowered responds to simple but very important needs of a large number of young people belonging to vulnerable categories: the lack of a job and the lack of opportunities for professional and personal development - said Irina Ionescu. Learn more about this program in her interview for Revista Piata.

In her interview for Revista Piata, Irina Ionescu, Public Affairs & Communication Manager at Coca Cola HBC Romania, spoke about the CSR project through which Coca‑Cola HBC tries to support NEET (Not in Éducation, Employment or Training) youth.

Reporter: How did the idea of ​​this program arise? What is behind this project?

Irina Ionescu: Behind a brand and behind everything that Coca‑Cola HBC represents there are about 30,000 people in 28 countries. We are present in many communities, we know their different realities and we seek to understand the needs of society and to make a contribution to a better life. It is essential for us to contribute to a change for the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate, to leave something significant behind us and to inspire others to do the same. Youth Empowered, initiated in 2017, responds to a simple but very important need that affects a large number of young people in vulnerable categories of society: the lack of employment and the lack of opportunities for professional and personal development. This was the foundation of the project and its results turned out to be good so far. The program is implemented in all countries where the Coca‑Cola HBC Group is present. In Romania, we partnered with The Social Incubator Association to implement this project. You cannot imagine how much energy all of us are investing in it - from the mentors in the program to my colleagues and the young people involved. It's a very nice feeling to see how a project is generating such important changes in all those who help build it.

Reporter: Who is this program addressed to? Who are the young people you are looking for?

Irina Ionescu: The project addresses young people aged between 18 and 25 in the NEET (Not in -Education, Employment or Training) category, one of the most vulnerable on the labor market. Launched in 2017 as a pilot project, Youth Empowered took the shape of personal and professional development workshops for over 550 young people in Vaslui, Prahova, Ilfov and Bucharest. During the 42 days of professional and personal development workshops, we have involved over 50 institutional partners.
Last but not least, we think it is very important that we see a growing concern in the business area for this topic. Our clients have received our initiative very well and even expressed their wish to participate as partners. For young people, this joint effort from Romanian companies is very good news and it is also an opportunity for them to integrate into the labor market and to gain more chances for the future they deserve and work for.

Reporter: What are the results of the program?

Irina Ionescu: If last year we had more than 550 young people who benefited from the program, which is a remarkable result, this year we want to take Youth Empowered to another level. We proposed to extend the geographical area to 6 counties, to include 1,200 young participants in workshops and to bring in more than 2,000 participants on the newly launched e-learning platform.

You can read the full article and the responses from The Social Incubator HERE.