Randstad, Palladium and development organization VSO have become fund manager of the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE). The CFYE was set up by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the fund is to create future prospects for 200,000 young people by investing in decent work and income. The fund pays special attention to equal opportunities for young women in the labor market. The focus regions of the fund are West Africa/Sahel, Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.

In cooperation with the business community and other relevant stakeholders, initiatives are supported that are suitable for up-scaling, that can be applied elsewhere and that are focused on future-proof skills such as digital skills and soft skills. An integrated approach plays a central role in this regard, which will improve the connection between the skills of young people and the qualities that are required on the labor market. For example, the fund wants to improve the alignment between supply and demand.

The CFYE was announced to the House of Representatives in the financing letter (in Dutch) ‘International financing in perspective; seize opportunities, achieve results‘ of Mrs. Kaag, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. The agreement was signed on 26 September 2019. It is anticipated that the fund will be launched at the end of this year.

The winning parties combine unique knowledge and expertise

The cooperating parties combine unique knowledge and expertise. Palladium has extensive experience in managing other Challenge Funds and brings a lot of expertise to the field of private sector development. Randstad is the market leader in the fields of recruitment, selection and career management. VSO contributes expertise in the field of education and employment, inclusion and gender.

VSO Director Erik Ackerman:

‘VSO is very happy to be part of the fund management of the CFYE. This unique combination of knowledge and strength of the three parties enables us to achieve the ambitious goal of providing 200,000 young people the prospect of decent work and income. Based on our expertise, we are fully committed to the involvement of young people themselves, the participation of women and girls, and the technical assistance for the initiatives within the fund.’

Jacques van den Broek, CEO Randstad, adds:

‘Labor inclusion and decent work are very important topics for Randstad as well, so we’re very excited to be able to participate in this fund. This will also help us increasing the labor market participation of young people as well as supporting innovation initiatives.’