Four hundred women and men from forcibly displaced and host communities in Iraq complete Work-Based Learning programmes

Implemented by ILO under the PROSPECTS Partnership, the programmes covered 18 occupations, involving 60 enterprises and enterprise owners, and an array of government and social partners, who provided youth with the necessary market-relevant skills that support their transition to decent work.

Article | 25 October 2023
Work-Based Learning graduates in Duhok
Duhok and Mosul (ILO News) Graduation ceremonies were held for 400 women and men who have completed Work-Based Learning programmes in Duhok and Mosul, equipping them with skills that support their transition to decent work.

Work-Based Learning is learning that occurs when people do real work that leads to the production of real goods and services.

The ILO has joined forces with tripartite constituents to promote Work-Based Learning programmes for host communities, Syrian refugees, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Duhok and Ninewa.

This includes partnerships with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Department of Labour and Social Affairs in Ninewa, governmental Vocational Training Centres in Duhok and Ninewa, the Chamber of Industry in Ninewa, the Youth Directorates and centres in Duhok and Ninewa, the Trade Union in Duhok, and the Chamber of Commerce in Duhok.

Work-Based Learning graduates in Mosul
Implemented in close collaboration with Caritas Czech Republic, these programmes are part of broader efforts under the PROSPECTS Partnership, funded by the Government of the Netherlands, which supports education, employment and protection in the context of forced displacement.

“The collaboration between the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the International Labour Organization and the Caritas Czech Republic is an important one, covering all areas of vocational training. The Work-Based Learning programme is among these areas. This programme has a significant impact on engaging and integrating job seekers into the labour market,” said Mohammed Zuhair, Deputy Director of the Department of Labour and Vocational Training in Ninewa. “Through this collaboration, we built the capacities and qualifications of the trainers and mentors, with the aim to improve their level of training and develop Work-Based Learning programmes, based on the needs of the labour market.”

Youth from Mosul
“One of the most important aspects of the programme was that the trainings took place in the real workplace, where the employers and crafts people turned into trainers for the trainees, in addition to our vocational trainers who designed the learning programme with the employers and ensured intensive monitoring of the learning process,” said Nebar Abdulstar, Director of the Vocational Training Centre in Duhok. “For the implementation of future programmes, we will come up with suggestions and address any challenges to ensure even better services are provided for our youth.”

Eighteen occupations related to agriculture, food production, sales, tourism, green works, digital, crafts and related trades were covered under the programmes, involving 60 enterprises and enterprise owners, as well as technical working groups consisting of in-company trainers (crafts people), vocational trainers, mentors, and coordinators, tasked with designing the programmes, training plans and evaluation tools, and ensuring close follow-up and monitoring of the trainees during the implementation process.

Youth and enterprise owners engaged in the Work-Based Learning programme in Duhok
“These Work-Based Learning programmes create greater linkages for our trainees with the labour market and the private sector, which improve the training quality and relevance to the needs of the labour market, and enhance trainees’ employability,” said Yasser Ali, Skills Technical Officer at the ILO. “Each one of our partners has had a specific role to play in this programme, and we hope that through these partnerships we will be able to implement more such programmes, where trainees are not only trained in vocational training centres but in real work environments allowing them to gain real skills which are relevant in today’s labour market.”

Farah Ismail
Half of the trainees involved in the programme were women. Farah Ismail, who completed her one-month training at a dairy enterprise in Ninewa, was one of them. “I have learnt how to make cheese and dairy products. I have also gained skills in accounting management and how to calculate profits and losses,” said Farah. “This programme has increased my self-confidence, taught me how to better manage my time, and provided me with an income.”

Jowan Sheikh Mous Mahmo
Syrian Jowan Sheikh Mous Mahmo, who completed his training at a solar panel enterprise, said: “The training was one of best training programmes I have been involved with, because there was follow-up. There was intensive monitoring of our learning process. When my financial situation allows, I will start my own business in this field.”

Moving forward, the ILO aims to expand the WBL programmes through additional pilots, informing the development of a national framework for Work-Based Learning and apprenticeships, based on the new recommendation on quality apprenticeships adopted by The International Labour Conference.

The PROSPECTS Partnership operates in eight countries across the East and the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. In Iraq, ILO’s focus under the Partnership, is on supporting thousands of forcibly displaced persons and host community members to access more and better livelihoods and decent job opportunities. It is doing so through an integrated approach that supports market-driven skills training; improves public employment services; promotes financial inclusion; and supports business start-ups and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).