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New curriculum uses football to teach life skills to young jobseekers

13 August 2020
ITC News
Football coaches will become life coaches for young people looking for work as ITC’s Kick for Trade Initiative launches toolkit supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children and partners

A new curriculum using football to teach entrepreneurship and employability life skills to young people in developing countries has been launched by the ITC, the UEFA Foundation for Children, Kick4Life and Streetfootballworld.

The Kick for Trade Life-Skills Curriculum was unveiled at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, to mark International Youth Day on 12 August 2020.

‘Football motivates and enthuses young people in a way that no other sport does,’ acting ITC Executive Director Dorothy Tembo said.

‘The investments made by the football industry in the economic and social development of young people can support greater entrepreneurship, innovation and action towards advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’ Ms. Tembo added.

‘This newly launched curriculum is an important goalpost in helping young people build new skills to reach new heights. My hope is that it can be replicated and used around the world,’ she said.

Urs Kluser, General Secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children said: ‘We are pleased to be a partner in such a valuable, wide-reaching project. Young people from a range of developing countries will undoubtedly benefit hugely from learning valuable life skills such as communication, decision making and teamwork all while enjoying playing the beautiful round ball game.’

The curriculum was developed to support the Kick for Trade. This initiative, jointly created by ITC’s Youth and Trade Programme and UEFA Foundation in May 2019, fosters football-based life skills to promote social inclusion, employability and entrepreneurship for young people.

After pilot activities in The Gambia and Guinea in 2019, the curriculum has been shaped and developed to enable young people to build transferable skills such as leadership and teamwork by playing football.

Streetfootballworld, a global network of 135 organizations using football as a tool for social change, contributed their strategic football-for-development expertise to the curriculum. Its Lesotho-based member organization, Kick4Life, delivers a wide range of football-based health, education, gender and employability programmes. Kick4Life offered crucial input to create the methodology behind the sessions in the new curriculum.

Life skills that form part of the toolkit include problem solving, creative thinking, communication and interpersonal skills, self-awareness and empathy, assertiveness and composure, and resilience.

The downloadable Kick for Trade Life-Skills Curriculum is designed to be delivered by trained coaches in inclusive environments. Only the basic minimum of equipment is required to deliver the sessions successfully, making the curriculum suitable for many contexts where many young people can benefit.

‘Today’s milestone reflects what can be achieved if we all work together,’ Ms. Tembo said.

On-site pilot activities of the Kick for Trade initiative are currently on hold in The Gambia and Guinea due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the curriculum is set to be rolled out in countries that feature ITC youth-related projects with entrepreneurship and employability components once restrictions are lifted.

At the launch, Ms. Tembo toured UEFA headquarters and visited the trophy room where the silverware for numerous European football competitions including the European Cup are displayed.

Established in 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children currently invests in 131 projects and so far to 245 projects in 100 countries worldwide. More than 1 million children have benefited from the foundation’s work since tit was created.