Just completing a site visit to our Family Care partner in Chile, FEDES. (“FEDES” being the acronym for a Foundation centering on furthering Education, Development and Economic Stimulus opportunities for the poor)
Since FEDES began its Vocational Training program in 2002, it has developed over 30 vocational training courses, each of the curricula certified by the ISO, nationally and internationally. Courses include various aspects of culinary arts and food processing technologies (the only school of its kind in all South America), local and international cooking, pasties and confectionery, bar-tending and dining services, garment tailoring and domestic design, nursing and elder care program, computer IT and networking, pre-school childcare, secretarial school, industrial cleaning, customer service;as well as carpentry and house building, furniture making, plumbing (both industrial and home) and electrical courses.
The school commands a 96% attendance and graduate record, and following the completion of the course, a minimum of 80% (and climbing) of graduates acquire immediate employment through the FEDES network of partners, which includes multinational companies and five-star hotels, etc.
When you see the backgrounds that these students come from, many classified as “high-risk youth”, it’s so heartening to see how these educational opportunities that FEDES offers can lift these young people and their families out of poverty. (For example, two young men who graduated when I was last in Chile now have a top IT firm in the capital, with clients including all the branches of the country’s top car importer etc. Others are chefs in 5-star hotels, etc.)
[Update: Since the time that Family Care made a grant to FEDES allowing them to renovate property where they created their own campus, FEDES has replicated their Vocational Training program in a number of other locations, with government backing.]