“You have to Be the Change you want to see in the world” – Be the Change Academy (BTCA) seeks to deliver on this statement’s timeless promise.
In pursuit of the goal to build a better world fashioned by youth, BTCA run free job training and enterprise creation projects, which serve to equip young entrepreneurs with the capacity to make it happen!
What sets BTCA apart is that:
- The projects are fuelled by the endless enthusiasm, energy and drive of young volunteers.
- Trainees are offered financial support – a revolving loan fund.
- Trainees are offered expert mentorship.
BTCA has learned that when you put all these elements together you MAKE THE CHANGE.
The Training: Teaching the Change
BTCA builds its training programme around the trainee, adopting a trainee-centric ethos that maximises the potential of each individual. By following a common-sense approach BTCA makes this happen by:
- Offering non-formal, experiential employability and enterprise-creation trainings.
- Operating from a variety of training centres – trainees do not have to travel far.
- Scheduling trainings at convenient times – trainees do not have to suffer a loss in earnings to attend.
Revolving Loan Fund: Funding the Change
The best trainees are provided access to the BTCA’s Revolving Loan Fund. Financed this way they will be able to start their business and pursue a livelihood.
Differential Mentorship: Guiding the Change
The BTCA supports all its loanees with the unique system of ‘differential mentorship’. Differential mentorship is where a team of carefully selected business and personal mentors support their young entrepreneurs 24/7 to ensure that they succeed.
In parallel, the BTCA also encourages its students to build teams and work together to create more ambitious businesses. For the want of a formal title, you could call it a type of dual mechanism ‘inter-trainee’ support/mentorship group!
Be the Change Skills Certificate: Evidencing the Change
BTCA delivers the Be the Change Skills Certificate to each trainee. The evaluation for which draws on 4 levels of assessment:
2. Peer assessment.
3. Trainer assessment.
4. Objective assessment by HR professionals.
The appraisal is designed to determine each young trainee’s suitability for the labour market and/or their ability to start and run an income-generating enterprise.
Where BTCA fits in: Change within the Change
The expertise gained through the exhaustive research of some 2000+ youth job creation and skills training programmes means that PCI can confidently assert that its youth-led approach to skills training and youth job creation are founded upon the principles that guide the very best international practice.
Why Peer Educators? Easing the Change
PCI has a long held commitment to peer-to-peer education. Through drawing on the credibility and positive example set by youth trainers, BTCA is able to benefit from a series of advantages.
Advantages of youth trainers
- Youth-friendly and less intimidating than older professionals.
- De-mystify the jargon – making business start-ups accessible to all.
- Happy to work with youth with minimal education and literacy levels – helping and inspiring them to acquire the Foundation Skills they need to advance.
- Teach IT skills better.
- Refuse to give up on their charges by providing them with every encouragement to succeed.
Educating the Educators: Creating Change-makers
The process of peer-to-peer education is so effective that even the youth trainers themselves stand to benefit! It is for this reason that PCI encourages the best BTCA graduates to become peer trainers for future trainings. The process of self-renewal serves both to embed their own knowledge and skills, and create a sustainable and ever-growing pool, of peer trainers.
The Sustainability Imperative: The Change
Here at PCI the issue of environmental sustainability is a core concern, one PCI treats as an absolute imperative for our future and attempts to instil in young entrepreneurs as a priority.
- Over the next 50 years the intelligent use of resources will separate profitable businesses from those that collapse into ruinous black-holes. Accordingly, a significant proportion of the BTCA training is directed at focusing young trainees’ thoughts on sustainability issues.
- A complementary approach to both economic and social sustainability is also incorporated into the design of the BTCA programme.
- The student/trainee pool feeds the volunteer peer-trainer pool, thus ensuring sustainability of both the training staff and the differential mentorship body.
- PCI works from day one with Ministry of Education, Youth and Finance officials to ensure that they will support each successful BTCA after the period of donor funding.
Forming Partnerships: Enshrining the Change
PCI, in an attempt to cement the role of BTCAs is:
- Working with the International donor community, including DCED (Donor Committee for Enterprise Development), to ensure that they prioritize youth job creation in the financial support they give to each LDC (Least Developed Country).
Why? Rationalising the Change
PCI argues that if governments invest wisely in youth through initiatives like the BTCA, they will:
- Promotes a can-do attitude.
Conversely a failure to invest in youth could potentially
- Spark a socio-economic downward spiral.
- Have catastrophic consequences for the very notion of a particular state.
Clearly the only logical response is for governments to invest heavily in BTCA!
Future Plans: Evolving the Change
To date, BTCAs have been stand-alone institutions. In the future that will change with PCI currently formulating plans to attach the academies to high schools or colleges, so that they can become part of mainstream education provision.