After joining forces earlier this year, the two partners will broaden the program in 2018 to include Argentina, Belgium, China, Pakistan, Russia and India. The collaboration, which was initially launched with a focus on four countries (Brazil, Nigeria, Indonesia and South Africa), is part of AkzoNobel's Let's Colour initiative, run by brands such as Dulux, Coral and Flexa.
As well as offering training through the company's painter academies, the program also includes renovating the living spaces of SOS Children's Villages program participants, together with AkzoNobel volunteers.
"By the end of 2017, almost 100 young people will have been through our training programs and workshops in the four countries we first announced as part of the partnership," said Ruud Joosten, COO of AkzoNobel Paints and Coatings, who added that around 150 volunteers from the company have also participated. "This makes me very proud and is exactly the kind of positive experience that we want to repeat in the next six countries."
Added Kei Heikkilä, Head of International Corporate Partnerships at SOS Children's Villages: "We are delighted to announce the commitment to the six new countries in 2018, with AkzoNobel as our international corporate partner. Working together this year has reinforced our belief that a collaborative approach actively contributes to the employability of young people coming from a difficult background.
"Together with a partner like AkzoNobel - who have the color expertise, professional skills and training programs needed to make people's lives more liveable and inspiring - we are committed to helping young people prepare for the job market and lead independent lives."
The collaboration is part of the global YouthCan! Initiative, which brings together SOS Children's Villages, AkzoNobel and other corporate organizations. The aim is to focus on jointly creating opportunities for young people that strengthen their employability and enable them to gain relevant practical experiences, skills and knowledge. With this particular partnership, AkzoNobel aims to contribute to meeting the targets set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - specifically SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth.