Jordan launches first ILO SCORE Training programme in the Middle East

The training is set to improve SMEs’ productivity and working conditions in the agri-food sector in the country.

News | 21 December 2022
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched this week its first series of Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Basics training programme starting with a three-day training of trainers (ToT) workshop in Amman. This is part of a collaboration with the Jordan Chamber of Industry (JCI) to improve SMEs’ productivity and working conditions in the agri-food sector in the country.

Supported by the Government of the Netherlands under the PROSPECTS Partnership, SCORE Basics is is a modular programme that focuses on developing cooperative relations at the workplace through a combination of practical classroom training and in-factory consulting. In Jordan, it specifically targets 15 enterprises facing deficits in productivity and working conditions, and whose performance has been impacted by the country’s economic slowdown following the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the ToT workshop in Amman, 14 selected JCI staff members and specialised consultants were trained to later roll-out SCORE Training in the targeted SMEs. Their performance was evaluated in order to become certified as ILO SCORE Trainers.

“We are delighted to be launching in cooperation with the JCI the first SCORE Training in the region to support local SMEs to rebound from a severe economic downturn and rise amid still challenging circumstances,” says Shaza Jondi, ILO's Chief Technical Adviser for PROSPECTS in the Arab States region. “Our goal is to trigger improved working conditions and increased productivity in these firms. Such combined improvement eventually leads to higher profits that can be later reinvested in the form of higher wages or more jobs.”

Employment of Syrian refugees and host community members, investment in job retention and creation, and workforce reskilling programmes for business continuity and growth, as well as willingness to improve productivity and working conditions were among the main eligibility criteria for enterprises to join the initiative.

“The objectives of SCORE Training is aligned with the official vision for Jordan, aiming at its industrial modernization. We are glad to be leading together with the ILO the improvement of the industrial private sector,” says JCI Director General Maher Al Mahrouq. “This training is set to boost the capacity of the JCI team for the delivery of their services to the chamber’s enterprise members, especially across the country’s SMEs. It also contributes to enlarging our pool of consultants and increasing their capacities in the lean management approach to improve the firms’ efficiency and quality, among other important tools.”.

Following the ToT, SCORE Trainers will later visit the firms in the target areas in Amman and Zarqa, to deliver the SCORE Training module, SCORE Basics, which covers five key topics including workplace collaboration, quality management, clean production, human resource management, and occupational safety and health. The SCORE Training process includes practical classroom training for managers and workers, followed by on-site coaching to put the training into practice in the workplace.

“Such training will improve the cooperation within the chamber and with the ILO,” says Obaida Abueid, Director of the Industrial Services Department at the JCI and one of the trainees. “SMEs make up 80 percent of the industrial sector in the country.” SCORE’s five pillars are crucial for the development and improvement of the productivity and working conditions of these firms.”

During SCORE Training, SMEs are supported to enhance collaboration between workers and managers to create a safer, more efficient and productive workplace, establishing a space where workers can share their concerns or ideas for improvements. Boosted workplace communication and collaboration have proved to be elements that help raise productivity and increase the potential for business growth, as well as contribute to more and better job opportunities for local communities.

During the ToT workshop, participants discussed some of the best international practices in the manufacturing sector—including environmentally friendly and sustainable ones—which could help SMEs better participate in global supply chains and could also translate into a source of cost savings.

“The different experiences from different countries shared during the training are extremely useful for us,” says Hiba Al Daoud, a SMEs consultant developer and industrial engineer. “The training is helping us understand the best way to communicate with the firms during the assessments. We need to find a way to communicate with the managers and the enterprise owner to help them improve the working conditions of the workers. Facilitating the dialogue between managers and workers is key to improving the overall enterprise’s productivity.”

Under the PROSPECTS partnership in Jordan, the ILO supports the improvement of working conditions for refugees and host community members, alongside enhanced productivity at the sectoral level.