Youths across Jordan gain new skills through work-based learning

Hundreds of Jordanian and Syrian youths celebrated the completion of their training programmes, provided by the ILO and Jordan River Foundation, as they prepare to enter the world of work with increased practical and technical skills.

Press release | 26 February 2024
Jordanian and Syrian WBL-graduates are seen with officials from the ILO and implementing partners during their graduation ceremony in Jordan./ ©Jordan River Foundation

Amman, Jordan (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Jordan River Foundation (JRF) successfully concluded work-based learning training for over 350 job-seeking Jordanian and Syrian youths across Jordan. The initiative aimed to facilitate their transition to employment, enhance competitiveness in the job market, and enable the trainees to obtain official occupational licenses.

Work-based learning, including targeted apprenticeships, can help jobseekers meet the skills demands of a fast-changing labour market, providing cost-effective training, promoting private sector development, and easing the transition to the world of work.

The project "Promoting Work-based Learning (WBL) Programmes for Host Communities and Syrian Refugees in Jordan" was carried out across the five governorates of Amman, Zarqa, Balqa, Mafraq, and Irbid between October 2023 and January 2024. The initiative ran under the PROSPECTS Programme umbrella, a global partnership supported by the Government of the Netherlands.

Jordanian and Syrian WBL-graduates are seen with officials from the ILO and implementing partners during their graduation ceremony in Jordan./ ©Jordan River Foundation

“We are delighted to celebrate the completion of the training of hundreds of young women and men across the country,” said ILO PROSPECTS Regional Chief Technical Adviser Shaza Al Jondi. “Empowering the present and the future requires a commitment to high-quality education, comprehensive training, and equitable access to social protection for all. Bridging opportunities for youth, transcending gender, income, and background, is key to guaranteeing a pathway to decent and productive employment and fulfilling careers.”

Seventy percent of the trainees were members of Jordanian communities hosting refugees, while 30 percent were Syrian refugees. Over half the trainees were women.

They completed a diverse set of training programmes spanning different sectors, including agriculture, technology, chemicals and cosmetics, leather and textile industries, construction, logistics, water and energy, tourism and hospitality, and agri-food products.

The trainees had the chance to hone their occupational skills through targeted training stints in 29 Jordanian private sector companies located across the country.

“Through our collaboration with the ILO, we are now paving new paths in Jordan through this first-ever implementation of the Work-Based Learning programme,” said Director General of JRF Enaam Barrishi. “Such innovative practices and solutions are crucial to bridge the gap between youth’s technical and vocational skills and job market need, showing our commitment to building a more empowered and resilient community.”

The WBL project also seeks to enhance the capacities of training providers and partners, with a specific focus on creating and implementing tailor-made work-based learning programmes. Additionally, it evaluates potential connections between public and private sectors to integrate work-based learning into the national agenda.

The Technical and Vocational Skills Development Commission (TVSDC) and the National Employment & Training Company (NET) partnered with JRF during the implementation of the project.

Jordanian and Syrian WBL-graduates are seen with officials from the ILO and implementing partners during their graduation ceremony in Jordan./ ©Jordan River Foundation

“The role of the education and vocational training sector in Jordan’s economic and social development is paramount,” said Mohammed Al-Nawaiseh, Director of the Accreditation Department with the TVSDC. “We are dedicated to crafting strategic plans and policies, fostering collaborative partnerships with both public and private sectors. Our mission is to empower a skilled workforce, ensuring not only quality, but also driving increased productivity.”

“Our commitment lies in the company's contribution to national development, as we accurately prepare youth with the essential skills to thrive across diverse sectors,” said Director of the Central Region in the National Employment and Training Company (NET), Colonel Khalil Al-Habashna. “In doing so, we actively contribute to the battle against unemployment and poverty, working towards sustainable growth.”

Following the training, youths were feeling confident about future job opportunities.

“I am a nurse, but I am currently unemployed,” said Jordanian Walaa Abou Abed, 21, from the northern city of Irbid. “I decided to join the WBL training on solar energy to improve my economic situation. My parents’ encouragement has been instrumental in my participation in a field traditionally dominated by males. Today, I am confident that my increased knowledge in this area of work has equipped me with the capability to work on solar systems and understand their maintenance.”

Nineteen-year-old Ahmad Jomaa from Syria agrees.

“The training helped us access new competences, making it more likely to secure suitable job opportunities, especially through the certificate issued by TVSDC. This has the power to boost both our confidence and the confidence of employers in our skills.”

Through this and other initiatives, the ILO and its partners are set to help increase youth employment in the country. Prior to COVID-19, the unemployment rate among young people in Jordan was 32 per cent, but this has increased due to the impact of the pandemic. According to the World Bank, unemployment for youth in the 15-24 age bracket has reached over 46 per cent in 2022, affecting more than 63 percent of young women and 42 percent of young men in Jordan.