Butterflies en Mexico - Vocational Training Survey

A 17 month Effort – May 2014 thru October 2015



Phase 1 of this study assessed the interest and experience level of local Lakeside residents of working in the areas of Hospitality (restaurants/hotels) and Elder Care (medical or non-medical senior assistance), and the appeal of unpaid vocational training. The 144 participants were 13-25yr olds, with equal representation between Chapala, Ajijic, San Jun Cosala and Jocotepec.

Phase 2 assessed the basic needs of local employers with Hospitality and Elder Care businesses, with respect to employees, and their willingness to offer on-the-job paid training. 13 employers, split equally between the interest areas, completed official survey forms, and numerous others offered anecdotal input to the surveyors.

Basic Demographics

Overall Learnings

There appears to be significant interest in jobs in these areas, most specifically in Hospitality, and 3/4 of respondents are willing to travel, mostly by bus, to another Lakeside village for employment.

Employers are willing to train and are not expecting highly qualified employees, but previous experience is preferred.  The skills indicated as desirable in new employees were mostly personality traits – punctual, honest, respectful, loyal – versus formal education or experience-specific.    

Average weekly salary expectations are in line with current pay levels in the Hospitality businesses, and could be easily met or exceeded with the employment in the Elder Care field.  Employee benefits offered are widely inconsistent across employers, with only 70% covering basic IMSS for some, if not all, employees.

However, we did find 3 obvious areas of conflict inhibiting success:  


The majority of people surveyed (96%) are open to unpaid vocational training, but most (67%) are only willing to devote 1-2 weeks.  Those from Ajijic and Jocotepec, where the highest level of education of 75% of respondents is only Prep, are more willing to invest additional time (2-4 months)  

All employers stated they were willing to offer paid on the job training, most with periods ranging from 1 week to a month.


The Hospitality industry continues to be an obvious choice for employment at Lakeside for those without a higher level of education, but the most significant barrier to potential employees obtaining work is free industry-specific English training.  

Elder Care is a known developing need at Lakeside.  It is a relatively new career option, so the respondents are not confident of the associated financial prospects and do not realize on-the-job training is available to them.  Education of this option as career choice is needed to generate more interest.

Next Steps

The group decided to focus on hospitality as it is the most obvious “doable” choice with our limited volunteers.

  1. Hospitality - # 1 Engage one of the local restaurants involved in the survey to assist with developing an industry appropriate course outline and apprenticeship program as a pilot project.  #2 Engage one of the local non-profit groups who are willing and able to work as a partner to support “free industry-specific English training”.

Elder Care – Ongoing conversations with facilities to better understand their needs at the various levels of care offered to determine the optimum potential for employment placement before developing a similar pilot project for this industry.  Education of this option as a career choice is needed to generate more interest from youth.