Acceso Training Center – Yirmar Palacios Quinto, Administrative Assistant

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Though only 19 years old, Yirmar Palacios Quinto already has a year-and-a-half of experience working at the Acceso Training Center in Cartagena. From his undeniable enthusiasm, Yirmar seems to have a bright future ahead of him. However, he is quick to remember that this wasn’t always the case.

Yirmar recalls that before he received the opportunity to study administrative assistance (at the training center where he now works), he found himself forced to engage in a variety of informal activities ranging from selling sweets and cellphone minutes, to even renting out the washing machine in his own home. He did these things to make much-needed income to support his family.

“Even though I had this responsibility for my family, in addition to the consequences caused by the conflict in my country, I never lost the drive or desire to surpass myself and continue my studies, always looking to improve my quality of life and that of the people who depended on me like my mother and my siblings.”

While Yirmar was still a student, arriving at the training center represented a challenge. He admits that many times he didn’t have money for transportation or for purchasing food. What he did have was motivation: “The dream was clear, so there wasn’t any room to doubt what I was doing, arriving today to reach the first step on the stairs which I wish to climb.”

While perhaps shy to admit it, it seems like Yirmar has recently taken another step as well – accepting a new position at the training center to work with a different team comprised of “all excellent professionals.” His duties now include being in charge of academic records, assisting in the coordination of administrative tasks, and managing inventories. Yirmar notes, “My routine today is quite different from before I became part of the Acceso Training Center, because today I can count on having economic and emotional support.”

Yirmar finds it satisfying to be able to help his co-workers and continue learning from them. In the future, he imagines Acceso operating in numerous other cities throughout Colombia, and that apart from providing technical careers, it can also focus on making students apt in new technologies. “Forming even larger partnerships with enterprises can really solidify the improvements in our quality of life.”