Equipping vulnerable youth today with skills and knowledge needed for tomorrow employments

Give an opportunity for better jobs to vulnerable youth, enhancing their skills and promoting success in Vocational Training.

Photo of Sara Di Lullo
0 3

Written by


  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Nacho Sequeira

Initiative's representative date of birth

August 7th, 1974

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Man

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Spain

Where are you making a difference?

Spain. 12 cities with major impact in Barcelona and Madrid.

Website or social media url(s)

https://fundacionexit.org/ https://www.facebook.com/fundacion.exit.ong https://twitter.com/fundacionexit https://www.linkedin.com/company/1967708 https://www.instagram.com/fundacionexit/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5OdY1Gt_aL9NW3PCsVP0gA

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce
  • Creating digital tools

Project Stage

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways) 

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $250k - $500k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

During the '90s our founder was volunteering in Barcelona's Raval, the city neighbourhood with the lowest life expectancy, inhabited by a humble population and one of the main immigrant population reception areas. He used to work with at-risk youth, helping them to stay out of the streets and to make a living for themselves. He soon realized that goodwill was not enough: these young people needed to have the skills to face their future, they needed to be placed into jobs, and the business world would have to be part of the equation. At that time the social world would look at the companies as "the enemy", but he saw it clearly: we had to build a bridge between the social world and corporate sector. This is how Fundación Exit was born.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

In Spain 1 out of 5 young people drops out of school early and 1 out of 3 people under the age of 25 are unemployed. The less qualification young people have, the higher unemployment rates they will face, which makes them more vulnerable to adverse situations. Moreover, the gap between the companies hiring needs and the candidates' qualifications is important: 27% of job offers in 2018 could not be filled due to a lack of skilled applicants.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We bring together vocational schools, companies and at-risk youth to reduce the gap between the skills and knowledge needed for tomorrow’s employments and the actual ones’, to give an opportunity for better jobs to vulnerable youth, reducing youth school dropout and promoting success in vocational training. Starting with an early orientation, we aim at increasing the number of youths that get a Vocational Degree in sectors with identified skills mismatch; in this way we promote their employability, focusing on skills that will improve their job-placement opportunities. The Vocational training school in Spain (Grado Medio) lasts two years. We orient young people towards market sectors with a high need for hiring before they get to the first year of VET school (GM1). During the GM1 we focus on enhancing the youth knowledge of the sector, their digital culture, and their motivation to pass to the second year. During the second year (GM2) we focus on soft skills, tools and abilities to achieve a job placement once they finish their vocational training. The youth profit from the mentorship of business professionals throughout the three phases of the training itinerary.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

The vast majority of the social actors working with at-risk youth on school dropout and employability apply the Second Chance Schools approach, targeting youth excluded by the education system, facilitating short trainings and tutoring. Fundación Exit is seeking a systemic change and for that, decided to work inside the schools, partnering with the education system itself and bringing innovative education methodologies and companies know-how, through corporate volunteers, in the classrooms since the first day. Aware to be tackling a complex problem we believe that we need to mobilize as many agents as possible to work together as an ECOSYSTEM: the youth, governments, schools, companies, social entities, donors, media, innovation experts.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

• Service-learning: we co-create a challenge with teachers and companies for the youth to solve using soft skills, linking it to what was learned in the class. We always try to offer challenges/projects with an impact on the community especially among the most vulnerable collectives: this is a powerful drive among young people. • Group and peer mentoring: we work the youth skills map linked to job profiles most demanded by the companies participating. In these sessions, we validate the participants’ level in the key skills to enter the labor market. We train the youths' ability to identify their own skills and strengths and areas of improvement for each of their skills. • Soft Skills training in blended format: it is fundamental to work soft skills with young people with attractive formats and materials, like videos and contents developed by their peers (eg. https://bit.ly/39Wx43Q)

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

We work with a dictionary of key Soft skills for youth employability using the norm of nine soft skills and one basic instrumental skill: ADAPTABILITY, COMMUNICATION, DISPOSITION TO LEARNING, EMOTION MANAGEMENT, IDENTIFICATION, INITIATIVE, AUTONOMY, ORGANIZATION. To measure the skills progress we use a tool called Emplea+ that we have developed collaboratively with a group of NGOs and the support of Accenture Foundation. This tool allows the third sector to have a shared skills dictionary and an online tool for the measurement and objective self-measurement of the skills level.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Several NGOs are addressing the problem: Fundación Tomillo, Asociación Cultural Norte Joven, Opción3, Fundación Adsis, Fundación Rey Ardid… Fundación Exit, though, is the only actor aiming at increasing the level of the youth academic (official) qualification, guiding them toward strategic sectors with high potential of hiring and low rates of student enrolment: industrial sector, green energy, IT, logistics sectors, etc. Companies are key defining what skills and profiles they demand and from there we adapt the projects to those needs. Peer-to-peer mentorship is another differential element.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

In 20 years, we have supported approximately 8,600 young people in 12 cities and collaborated with more than 700 multinationals and SMEs, 4,500 corporate volunteers, 400 educational centers and social entities. We have been facilitating these projects across Spain from our offices in Madrid and Barcelona with a small team of 20-25 employees. Last year, our projects effectively impacted 1,375 youth. Beyond numbers, is the very model based on mentorship created by Exit that had a profound impact on the way the social sector works with at-risk youth in the areas of school dropout and job placement. Exit pioneer activities’ bridging the corporate world and the social sector, have set quality standards and an example for both, our partners NGOs and the companies we have been partnering with overtime, generating best practices and lots of strong, trust-based collaborations.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

In the short term, our project is being funded mainly by private foundations and companies through their CSR department. In a short-medium term, we are prospecting two different types of companies: big companies that should act as "champions", with big funding potential, and SMEs than can offer job opportunities to the students. In the medium – long term (our strategic plan has a 3-years vision) we expect to attract and maintain 4 types of funders to make the project sustainable: * Ecosystems Champions, for the 20% of the total budget; * Companies interested in corporate volunteering projects and/or with hiring needs: for 30% of the total budget; * Strategic partners funding the 20% of the budget; * Government: 30% of the budget.

10. Team

Fundación Exit has always chosen to have a small team. Currently, we have 22 full-time employees and 5 part-time, most of them working in the Projects Department, with specialized teams for each phase of the youth training itinerary. We also count with a Finance and Administration dept., a Communication and Fundraising team, all led by our General Director. Our Board and the Advisory Board are mainly composed of people linked to the financial and the business world, with strong social awareness.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Status as a migrant

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

My father was one of the first migrant coming from India to arrive in Barcelona during the seventies. He was a professor and we were not in a vulnerable situation. Still, we are a different and racialized family, and especially during my adolescence, I experienced situations of racism and discrimination that deeply marked my life. This made me want to dedicate myself to work with vulnerable populations, focusing on youth education and employment, fundamental drives to have a better future.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Search engine

11. Bring it to life: Please walk us through a concrete example of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address

After a school failure, Amid, through a meeting with a peer mentor in one of our early orientation session, discovers the green energy sector, that he didn't even know it existed. He learns where he could study something related, he visits few vocational schools and assists to a gamified session about what is green energy. He decides to matriculate. During the first academic year, he participates in a set of masterclasses taught by a corporate volunteer from a green energy company, focusing on familiarizing with the sector, the profession and the possible professional development. He gets specific training on soft skills needed to succeed in it. He puts the teachings into practice in a service-learning project. The following academic year, few corporate volunteers help him to improve his personal brand, his CV, his network to eventually be hired in the green energy sector.

12. Skills Matching: HSBC Employees will have the opportunity to offer skilled-volunteering. If matched, which of the following skills would you be most interested in receiving?

  • Monitoring Impact
  • Research
  • Marketing Strategy, Design
  • Multimedia
  • IT Infrastructure/CRM
  • Web/Mobile Development

13. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

Fundación Exit funding (income) breakdown :

Individual gifts: 1.38%

Foundation Grants: 64.34%

Corporate contributions: 18.10%

Grants or contracts: 16.19%

14. Financial Sustainability – please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project over the next 12 months.

Our current annual budget is planned by project and monthly monitored for any possible deviation through analytical accounting software. We dedicate 85.85% of our budget to fund the programs, 9.70% to administrative costs and 9.45% to fundraising costs. In our programs, 88% of the budget goes to orientation, specialization and job placement activities and 12% to our Alumni community, promoting peer-to-peer mentorship activities. Beyond the source of funding described in section 9, to assure the project scalability and sustainability we plan to boost the company’s involvement on the whole national territory through the #E3Challenge: Empowering Education and Employability. The #E3Challenge is a campaign addressed to our corporate partners, giving them a seal of quality to be part of as a select group of businesses that are changing the future of the youth labour market in Spain.

15. Growth Strategy: What are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

We have two main strategies to scale up our project:

- Blended learning development

Moving from offline learning to blended and digital contents will help us to multiply and scale-up the project and allow us to have a greater impact.

- Packed methodology and train the trainers.

Our model puts an implant in every public school and train the trainers in our soft-skills training model to replicate and expand the model to its full potential.

Once teachers are trained, the implant focuses on engaging with the companies in the whole training itinerary (not only the internship phase).

16. Activating changemakers: How are you giving people the power to control their own destiny and support other people to become changemakers in their communities?

Peer-to-peer mentorship is a core component of our solution. For the young people participating in our projects, learning from peers who have already gone through the same problems and situations, helps the youth self-development, enables the questioning of beliefs, values, stereotypes, roles, and endorses soft-skills learning. Witnessing how youths in their own community take the lead and change their lives is a very empowering and inspiring experience, for both mentors and mentees. Furthermore, peer mentoring allows reaching a greater number of youths and to scale faster our actions.

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

- The project won the 2019 Cemex-Tec Award in the International Collaborative Action category. It was awarded among more than 100 proposals for its contribution to promoting social change.

- The collaboration between Axa and Exit for the project was selected by Forética as one of the 50 business solutions in the framework of the European campaign 2018-2019 of Enterprise 2020, Future of Work.

18. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project

The pilot phase of the project made clear that the early school dropout in Spain is a multicausal problem. Fundación Exit can address few of these causes, but only through our partnership with governments, education system, media, companies, other NGOs joining efforts in an ecosystem logic, we’ll be able to pursue a systemic change, greater impact and scale our project, contributing to change the future of youth employment situation in Spain.

Finally - Your Selfie Elevator Pitch: Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 66.7%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 100%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%


Yes, absolutely! - 66.7%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 0%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 0%

Other option - 50%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 0%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 0%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 100%

Other option - 0%


Join the conversation: