Enabling school leavers to access high quality further education and formal employment.


The aim of the Leavers Programme is to work with young people to enable them to make the transition from secondary school to further education and formal employment.


  • Status: Current

  • Date: January 2017 - December 2021

  • Target population: 60 young people aged between 17-22 years old

  • Location: Cusco, Peru


  • Young people develop core life-skills.

  • Young people acquire key knowledge and skills for further education, employability and enterprise.

  • Young people have access to high quality higher education.



The Leavers Programme has been developed in response to a growing need for transitional support for young school leavers in Ccorca. When Amantani began working in Ccorca in 2008, there were only 35 students in the local secondary school. Just two graduates left the secondary school that year and no one from the district was in higher education. Since then – and in part thanks to Amantani’s support - Ccorca’s education system has undergone significant changes. There are now 221 pupils in the local secondary school, and 40 young people will graduate in 2017. During 2016, we worked with the young people and their parents, across several planning workshops and focus groups to develop Amantani’s Transitions Project, including the Leavers Programme component. 

Why it is important:

According to the United Nations, ‘underemployment lies at the core of poverty. For the poor, labour is often the only asset they can use to improve their well-being. Hence the creation of productive employment opportunities is essential for achieving poverty reduction and sustainable economic and social development.’ The definition of decent work proposed by the International Labour Organization includes the following key criteria: productive work with fair remuneration; safety in the workplace; social protection for workers; freedom to express concerns; and equality of opportunity for women and men. 

In a recent report Peru’s National Institute of Statistics stated that 59% of people living the region of Cusco are underemployed, meaning that their work does not meet the ILO’s criteria, primarily due to insufficient income. Amongst the underemployed, the country’s indigenous people are disproportionately represented. A study by the Universidad del Pacífico (2011) found that indigenous Peruvians earn 53% less than non-indigenous people. 

The ILO highlight the following key barriers to formal employment: deficient access to education; digital illiteracy; teenage pregnancy; low-quality technical training and a lack of social networks. These findings illustrate what our team has seen first-hand whilst working with indigenous young people in Ccorca during the last twenty years. According to the last national census in Peru in 2007, just 1% of people in Ccorca had studied beyond secondary school, in comparison with 32% in the city of Cusco, just an hour away. More recently, since 2016, 25% of secondary school leavers from Ccorca are currently in higher education, thanks to their involvement in Amantani’s Transitions Project.

What we are doing:

With just one extra year of formal education, an individual’s earning capacity can be increased by 10%; a figure which can even reach 20% for women (UNESCO). As young people leave school, we accompany them in accessing high quality training opportunities and formal employment experience. This includes:
• Further Education – We provide scholarships to young people, enabling them to attend high quality training institutes. 
• Employment Experience – Building on our network of Employer Partners, we provide the social capital that young people need to access meaningful work experience at reputable businesses.
• Mentoring & Psychological Support – Our youth workers provide emotional and technical support to young people, helping them to build confidence, work through difficult issues and make informed decisions. 
• Youth Hub – Our Youth Hub is a quiet place in which young people can use computers and the Internet to aid their studies, as well as participate in Sexual Health & Personal Development workshops and informal youth-led activities. 
• Parents Workshops - Through a Parent Council, Parent Workshops and regular family visits, we involve the parents in the choices their young people make, as well as the project as a whole. 

The young people take part in maths class in preparation for their further education entrance exams.

The young people take part in maths class in preparation for their further education entrance exams.

Hector is currently studying a degree in Environmental Engineering.

Hector is currently studying a degree in Environmental Engineering.

Ubaldina (pictured here with her daughter) is currently training to be a seamstress.

Ubaldina (pictured here with her daughter) is currently training to be a seamstress.