Beirut, Lebanon (ILO News) A new ILO training is giving participants in Lebanon additional skills on how to effectively deliver career guidance within their own institutions, equipping them with enhanced capacities to provide employment and vocational training amid the multifaceted crisis facing the country.
Some thirty representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and ILO’s partner agencies —including the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and Italian non-governmental organization AVSI Foundation—attended the three-day training in Beirut on “Career Guidance and Employment Services: How to Choose my Future Profession” – an ILO training tool for institutions providing employment and career guidance services for jobseekers.
The training is part of the ILO’s focus on enhancing resilience of the country’s crisis-distressed labour market and creating better livelihoods for both Lebanese host community members and Syrian refugees. It is being implemented within the framework of the PROSPECTS programme, a global partnership supported by the Government of the Netherlands.
Under PROSPECTS, the ILO in Lebanon focuses largely on the agricultural sector, with its objectives aligned with the 2020- 2025 National Agriculture Strategy, set by the Ministry of Agriculture. These include strengthening the capacities of Ministry staff and improving the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the skills development and support services.
The training focuses on ways to effectively match the expectations of employers and workers in terms of skills, wages and working conditions to guarantee a smooth access to the labour market. Activities span raising awareness concerning employment services core principles, providing outreach techniques to better target beneficiaries and discussions on good practices, case studies and lessons learned on employment services.
Initially piloted in Jordan and Iraq, the workshop has so far garnered positive feedback, eyeing to reach over 2,500 jobseekers in Jordan only throughout 2022.
“We started strengthening our focus on education connected to the needs of the job market a few years ago,” said Fatima Helbawi, Head of the Education and Extension Service at the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, who attended the training. “It is important to convey education and trainings meant for the contemporary job market. We are trying to give new opportunities to the students we work with and other beneficiaries, taking into account the challenges and crises we are witnessing.”
A recent ILO assessment showed the unemployment rate reaching up to 33 per cent among the most vulnerable workers in the country.
Naser Wehbe is the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Economic Recovery Officer in northern Lebanon, directly working in Community Development Centres (CDC), where the ILO, the UNHCR and DRC are jointly providing both refugees and Lebanese with quality career counselling and employment services, among a broader package of services.
Wehbe said: “All the topics covered by the workshop are related to our joint activities in the CDCs, starting with how to receive the beneficiaries to advising them on their future career and how to put them in contact with the appropriate institutions to access the job market.”
Participants also discussed the need for a better alignment of skills supply with market demand and an update of the programmes, curricula, and assessment methods at skills training centres during the workshop.
“I usually conduct follow ups on the trainings the organization carries out in the field and deliver career guidance to the beneficiaries we work with,” said Sarah Khalil, Senior Field Officer with AVSI. “It was essential for me to get a deeper grasp of career guidance and receiving training on it.”
The lack of mechanisms for regular engagement between skills training centres with employers and the private sector and communication of competencies in demand were also recognised as elements that further hamper young people’s ability to transition from learning to decent work.
“Improving these elements means embarking on a long journey that requires a change of perspective, which has already started with development partners,” Helbawi said. “Learning how to better support students and job seekers in general in their career and career’s choices is certainly the first step to help the country’s recovery.”
PROSPECTS is a strategic four-year global partnership that supports host communities and displaced populations in eight countries across East and North Africa and the Arab States. It brings together the Government of the Netherlands, ILO, the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank, UNHCR and UNICEF and focuses on three key pillars: education, employment and protection.