Young workers (over the age of 15 and under 18) who’ve reached the legal working age often find themselves denied employment opportunities at Tier 1 factories. Faced with limited opportunities in the regulated formal sector, many youngsters turn to the informal sector and the lower tier factories to look for work. But skill-building opportunities are few and far between in many of these unregulated sub-contracting factories, and more worrying yet, labor violations and compliance issues are rife the deeper one dives into the supply chain.

Reflecting IKEA’s commitment to creating opportunities and improving lives, this year IKEA joined hands with CCR CSR to develop and implement a youth development program in its selected supplier factories in Vietnam. Participating factories will learn to identify suitable positions for young workers and how to effectively integrate them into the workforce. Factories will also be linked to local community centers working with marginalized or disadvantaged youth to potentially recruit potential employees. Meanwhile, the young workers who get hired as part of this program will be guaranteed full wages and ongoing training opportunities throughout their time at the factories. Trainings cover everything from soft and life skills; basic training in computer, finance and literacy skills to career building skills and sexual harassment prevention.

By creating decent work opportunities for those aged over 15 and under 18 in its Vietnam supply chain, IKEA is not only challenging standard practices (i.e. not hiring young workers) and setting a best practice for the industry, it is strengthening its positive impact and contributing to a more sustainable world.