„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“

Refugee Skilling and Support Project

Accenture and YMCA share a vision to holistically empower young people and their communities affected by the war in Ukraine, by offering them employability skills for an ever-changing world.

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Our partnership addresses an immediate and clear need enabling over 10,000 beneficiaries from the communities affected by the war in Ukraine. Practically, our partnership aims to create ways for refugees to take advantage of the digital and tech skills enablement, in line with UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited coalition, working to support youth employment and entrepreneurship worldwide.

Part of Accenture’s integrated response to the Refugee Crisis in Europe, this new partnership with YMCA leverages our physical network to provide safe, connected, and resource-rich places for approx. 5,840 Ukraine refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to benefit from support services, including online learning, connections to jobs, and other resources, positioning themselves for stability and work.


Nature of need

Between Feb - June this year, 6.9M people fled Ukraine; 2.9M refugees registered for temporary protection in Europe; 7.1M persons were displaced across Ukraine since the start of the war. Many Ukrainian refugees are well-educated and bring relevant skills to the European labour market. However, the local language, lack of up-to-date CV/resume or skills, childcare, mental health, and connectivity challenges may prevent people from positioning themselves for success.

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Integrating with other support offerings and employer interests across Accenture Europe, there is a need to quickly assess the skills the Ukrainian refugees have, help them to refresh or develop new skills, and connect to employment opportunities – all in a safe, connected way, with access to wrap around. support from a variety of partners.


Project summary

This project leverages YMCA’s existing and significant pan-Europe presence by establishing community hubs that assist in skills development and connecting to employment opportunities – and other wrap-around services - for Ukraine refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in a holistic way. 

Currently, refugees and IDPs need support to integrate and re-establish themselves in new communities, and access to this is frequently lacking or challenging, including issues relating to access (connectivity, hardware) and quality (content and resources that are moderated or assured) as well as lack of childcare provision, motivation, and peer or other support. 

YMCA Hubs will help people connect with local communities and resources, including access to safe and secure skills development and support services, e.g. as promoted by Accenture and other quality-assured partners. 

Hubs will be located in 4 high-need countries:

  • Ukraine (5 locations),
  • Romania (2 locations),
  • Moldova (2 locations),
  • Slovakia (3 locations) - utilising YMCA's trusted brand and network of local YMCAs in these places.

The program will be implemented over 6 months (October 2022 - April 2023), impacting more than 10,000 participants with the outcome of them being supported holistically including skill development and job seeking.

This project will advance Accenture’s Corporate Citizenship Strategy by helping to close the skill and employment gaps for marginalised people, specifically Ukraine refugees and IDPs, but also forms an important pillar as part of Accenture’s integrated response to the European Refugee Crisis, working in a growing coalition across the private-public sector to promote meaningful employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, including through Accenture. 

Promoting the YMCA hubs as a safe, secure, and replicable offering will encourage other private sector and non-profit partners to co-fund or replicate this approach across Europe. 

YMCA Hubs will create connections including Accenture-promoted skill development and other safeguarded and quality support services. In addition to physical hubs, some locations will support a mobile version, allowing outreach in rural areas.

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Key Value Drivers

The project addresses an immediate and clear need, creating ways for refugees to take advantage of the kinds of skilling, enablement, and other services that Accenture, the private sector, and other partners are promoting, eg., job skilling and application interests via Adecco Platform. 

It also drives measurable impact against S2S and SDG 8 (Decent work and Economic growth) as well as wider, softer, and more important measures of success around mental health and enablement.

The project opens a potentially scalable & strategic partnership with YMCA, who join Accenture as a member of UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited coalition, working to support youth employment and entrepreneurship around the world.


Employability skills set aquitision and development

Many Ukrainian refugees are well-educated and bring certain skill sets with them that are relevant to the Ukrainian labour market. Some of the refugees also have skills that are also relevant in the countries they are now living in. However, for many their skill sets will need to be adapted to the new context. 

Thus, there is a need to support the refugees to quickly assess the skills they have to potentially upgrade current skills or to develop new skills, so they can begin to seek and access employment opportunities in the countries or cities they are living in.

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In addition to the urgent skill assessment, additional psycho-social support is needed to ensure Ukrainian refugees can access employment opportunities. This includes practical support like:

  • language training,
  • childcare,
  • legal assistance, 
  • integration into the community as well as
  • mental well-being support to help refugees cope with events they have experienced.

As the YMCA is an organisation that looks to serve young people and communities in mind, body, and spirit, a holistic approach to supporting refugees in finding employment as well as their overall integration into society is the aim. Given that YMCAs work across Europe there is a robust grassroots infrastructure with permanent bases.

These bases allow for safe spaces for programming that supports both employment opportunities and psychosocial support.


About Accenture Foundation

The Accenture Foundation has been set up to—directly or indirectly—support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on quality education, decent work, economic growth, and climate change. The Foundation focuses on initiatives that overall contribute to the responsible citizenship goals, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and—more specifically—Accenture`s Skills to Succeed initiative