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Citigroup has pledged to offer 6,000 jobs and 60,000 training opportunities across Citi's retail and institutional businesses in APAC for young people by 2023.

The multinational investment bank has launched the initiative in response to the impact of COVID on youth employment, especially those coming from low-income and underserved communities such as young women at risk, migrant youth, minorities and youth with disabilities. 

This is under Citi Asia Pacific and Citi Foundation's global initiative called 'Pathways to Progress'. On Friday, the bank announced that an additional US$35 million (HK$271 million) will be invested into this existing scheme. 

“Communities in Asia Pacific are facing a youth unemployment crisis due to the impact of COVID-19. The expanded Pathways to Progress initiative underlines our effort to tackle this urgent issue by equipping and empowering young people with skills to improve their employment outcomes. Young people are key to Asia Pacific’s COVID-19 recovery and this investment will help them advance their economic opportunities and support inclusive growth in the region,” said Peter Babej, Citi’s Asia Pacific CEO.

The new positions and learning opportunities will include a summer internship programme, full-time analyst and associate roles, on-campus programmes and opportunities with Citi University Partnerships in its Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) programme.

The CUPID programme engages a diverse range of university students to co-create innovative solutions for people, businesses and communities. To date, CUPID teams have developed and supported 33 new project ideas, 13 functional prototypes and 32 business unit projects. 

In addition, the bank will strengthen its efforts in youth leadership to identify the role young talent can play in enabling progress and finding solutions for the most pressing challenges faced by society.

Amid the pandemic, Citi Asia Pacific debuted its first virtual reality intern experience programme, which offers 'lifelike' on-the-job tasks and skills training relevant to an analyst role across three different businesses at Citi: Banking, capital markets and advisory (BCMA), markets and securities services, and consumer banking for students around the world.

In APAC, examples of Pathways to Progress programming funded in 2020 include:

• Youth Co:Lab, a project co-created by Citi Foundation and the United Nations Development programmeme (UNDP), to continue bringing governments and stakeholders together to support young social entrepreneurs in starting and growing businesses that accelerate achievement of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals in more than 25 countries and territories across the region

• Citi’s US$10 million commitment in India to deliver demand-driven future skills training to 200,000 low-income youth and providing at least 70% of them with employment across the country's growth industries

• Paid internships supported by Citi through Hong Kong Council of Social Services and Kyung Hee University in South Korea to provide university students the opportunity to gain work experiences at nonprofit organisations

• Citi Foundation partnership with AIME in Australia to help Indigenous high school youth further their education or transition to job training and employment

• Partnership with the Philippine Business for Education through First Future, which unlocks the first careers of K to 12 graduates by connecting education to concrete economic opportunities

• Citi Foundation partnership with UCEP Bangladesh to ensure decent employment of underprivileged women by providing demand-driven skills training, nationally recognised certification and job placement support

• Partnership with The Garden of Hope Foundation in Taiwan to help teenage girls who have experienced domestic violence or exploitation to explore future employment opportunities and professional interests

• Citi Foundation partnership with UNESCO in Indonesia to build an enabling ecosystem and contribute to sustainable livelihoods for young entrepreneurs in creative industries living in and around Indonesia’s heritage sites