22 large enterprises have joined forces to combat youth unemployment and school dropouts in Barcelona, in the 19th edition of the Coach Exit Project promoted by the Exit Foundation. It is a corporate volunteer project that aims to combat youth unemployment through coaching and mentoring, putting professionals from various companies in touch with young people who have completed Basic Professional Training.
For the last 3 years, Banco Sabadell has taken part in this project, with employees volunteering in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Majorca and Alicante. The volunteers accompanied youths during 6 sessions to encourage them to return to their studies. In each session, youths visit various different departments to get an insight into how a company like Banco Sabadell works. It also gives them the chance to get to know different professional profiles, and they bear these in mind when choosing what subjects to study.
Since 2008, when Project Coach was first launched, 65 editions have taken place, with 2,517 volunteers, 2,224 young people, 114 companies and 126 social and educational centres in 8 cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Palma (Majorca), Valencia, Zaragoza, Alicante and Lerida. After taking part in the project, 82% of youths pass the course and 93% are committed to continuing their training in order to become employed in the future.
One example of the volunteers who have taken part in the latest edition in Barcelona is a pair formed by Núria Torneo, of the Asset Transformation Division in Banco Sabadell, and Marc Sánchez, a 17-year old who is passionate about music and new technology. They spent close to 25 hours together during this mentoring programme…
What motivated you to join Project Coach?
Marc: They told me that a volunteer would come along from a company and show me where they worked. I actually signed up out of curiosity, to see what it had to offer….
Núria: From the very beginning I thought the project was very interesting. In general, I enjoy social work, but this project represented something more for me; the fact that I had a young lad at my side who was just 17, which is a slightly complicated age, and to see that he has challenges and that I can learn from him… It was fantastic.
What did you expect to get out of the programme at the beginning?
Marc: Before I knew that I would be coming to Banco Sabadell, I thought the project would be a simple visit of the company, like a guided tour in which one of the employees would show us around the facilities. But the experience was far more complete and far-reaching than I expected.
Núria: I was hoping to have an enriching experience that I could learn from. The project has been a pleasant surprise for me, it has been a challenge from which we have all come out on top, perhaps more so myself than Marc. Right now I would love for this to be a never-ending story, I don’t want it to end.
What have you taken away from Project Coach? Would you recommend it?
Marc: Project Coach has opened many doors for me. I have always had a lot of ideas, but I never thought I would be able to put any of them into practice. The fact that Banco Sabadell has an Innovation division really surprised me and has made me see that my ideas can become a reality. And yes, I would recommend it, it is an experience that everyone should go through, especially people who are not too sure what they want to do with their lives.
Núria: I can summarise the experience in just a few words: I would definitely do it again. What I have taken out of this Project… that will stay with me. It has been an awesome experience, I would recommend it to everybody. In fact, if you need volunteers next year… give me a shout.