Our impact, their voices

Photo essay: Young persons in Jordan share their Green Job Search Club experience

Four enthusiastic Jordanian and Syrian youths who became part of the Green Job Search Clubs have shared their personal experiences with us. Tune in to the stories of Hadeel, Abdullah, Adham, and Mais, and join us in celebrating their achievements

Article | 16 November 2023
Photo essay: Their voices, our success: Four Youths in Jordan Share Their Green Job Search Club Experience
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) – Over 900 Jordanian youths have completed their career-oriented training in the past year through ILO and UNICEF’s Green Job Search Clubs, supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The programme, coordinated with the Ministry of Youth and implemented by the Business Development Centre (BDC), offers intensive job search coaching and fosters peer-to-peer exchanges.

In response to the high youth unemployment rate, the Green Job Search Club initiative is helping Jordan's young population find employment, with a newly added focus on green economy job opportunities. Jordan's commitment to renewables and climate adaptation measures can create jobs for both locals and refugees, addressing the country’s significant youth unemployment.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan faced a 32% youth unemployment rate. The pandemic has further exacerbated the situation, with youth unemployment reaching over 46% in the first quarter of 2023, affecting more than 64% of young women and 42% of young men in the country, according to the Jordan Department of Statistics (DoS). This stresses the pivotal role of initiatives like the Green Job Search Clubs in helping young people transition into the workforce.

Jordan, with the second-highest per capita refugee population in the world, is home to around 1.3 million Syrian refugees, many of whom struggle to secure employment or access decent job opportunities. The Green Job Search Club programme extends its support to refugees, providing them with livelihoods opportunities in refugee camps. Outside these camps, refugees with work permits can access employment opportunities in specific sectors, including agriculture, maintenance and repair works, construction, wholesale and retail trade, hospitality services, and arts and recreational activities.

We interviewed four enthusiastic Jordanian and Syrian youths, Hadeel, Abdullah, Adham, and Mais, who became part of the Green Job Search Clubs and are eager to share their experiences and achievements with the larger audience.

Jordanian Mais Walid Al-Mousa, 26, English language teacher in a local primary school

Mais studied medical laboratory sciences and completed a certified English language course.

She pointed out that the difficulties young people face in finding a job include the need to deal with numerous work intermediaries during the cumbersome recruitment processes and the extensive experience required even for entry-level positions.

“We all face these limitations and challenges,” she said.

She learned about the Green Job Search Club initiative through a friend.

“I joined the Club to gain experience and learn more about specific job search methods, especially for more qualified occupations,” she explained. “I learned how to write a proper CV, how to prepare for a job interview, and how to build a network of relationships that could help me find a job.”

Mais mentioned that the Club has been valuable in refining her job search methods and gaining a better understanding of her potential. In the wake of the training, she is now focussing on further developing herself and her skills.

“I am currently an English language teacher in a school, but I am also working towards becoming a university teacher,” she said.

In the recruitment process for her current job, Mais applied everything she had learned in the Job Search Club, eventually scoring a success.

“Through the Club, I met many local youths with whom I am currently still in touch,” she said. “We also established a WhatsApp group in which we exchange job information and job entries we find through social media or on the job market in general.”

Mais said that the Club was extremely useful for her current success. However, she would like the Club to help young people take a further step.

“I wish the Club would continue to support us even after its completion, evolving into a space where job opportunities are presented to its trainees. For example, it could facilitate job interviews with specific companies that align with our diverse qualifications,” she explained.

Syrian Adham Muhammad Al-Eid, 22, Trolley supervisor for Oxfam in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp

Adham studied in his native country Syria until the seventh grade before relocating with his family to Jordan because of the war. He completed his studies in Jordan, including preparation for the Tawjihi course – the General Secondary Education Certification Examination in Jordan.

“Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to enter university, but if I had, I would have liked to study accounting,” he said.

His family decided to move to Jordan due to concerns about the situation and the war in Syria. “The situation there [in Syria] was very difficult and unsafe for us," he explained. “Leaving Syria was difficult; we were in tears. It's very hard to leave your family and relatives and come to a place where you don't know anyone. I miss Syria greatly, my relatives there, and I wish I could visit them.”

When Adham and his family arrived in Jordan, it took them a long time before they could enter the Za’atari camp. “We began our life in the camp with a tent and relied on aid provided by organizations. Initially, we didn't have jobs. I tried to find work in the camp as soon as I finished high school, but it was very difficult,” he said. “In Syria, we used to live in houses, but when we came here, we lived in tents, sharing bathrooms with people we didn't know, and often lacked electricity. The situation has since improved."

Adham didn't have a job before. Now, he works as a trolley supervisor for Oxfam. In the camp, people recycle different materials, and every morning, he meets with the workers in the fourth sector of the camp to start collecting and transporting the material to the recycling station.

“When I heard about the Job Search Club, I got very excited because it was a new idea for me, and I wanted to be a part of it. I was sure I could benefit from it,” he said. “One must start from zero, but the important thing is not to stand idle. The Club helped me discover skills I didn't know I had, understand my talents, learn how to write a CV, how to apply for a job, and expand my knowledge and network of people.”

Following the two-week training, Adham remained in contact with the Club’s supervisors, who continued to provide advice.

“The Job Search Club helped me secure this job because I didn't know what to look for before joining it. Prior to the programme, I used to apply for jobs that might not have been suitable for me. After completing it, I benefited significantly because I gained the knowledge of how to find a job that matches my skills,” he said.

Syrian Hadeel Radwan Al-Alou, 24, Green Job Search Club member and Home-Based Food Entrepreneur.

Hadeel relocated to Jordan with her family in 2013 at the onset of the Syrian civil war.

Her father used to work in a ceramic factory, but he is currently unemployed. Her mother used to work as a tailor and continues to do so in Jordan. She was too young for employment in her home country. She studied in Syria until the seventh grade and completed her studies through the ninth grade in Jordan.

“We moved from Syria because of the war there and the great danger we faced,” she said.

Once Hadeel and her family reached Jordan, they lived briefly in the country's Za'atari camp for Syrian refugees. But they relocated outside the camp shortly after.

Hadeel got married in Jordan, but seven years later, her husband divorced her, leaving her without any financial support and taking away her three children.

“After this, my life went back to square one: I was left with nothing,” she said.

A friend advised her to join the Green Job Search Club project. Her family also encouraged her to attend the Club's workshops to find a job. Following a registration process, she was accepted into the Club right away.

“I attended the entire 12-day training,” she said. “After that, the facilitator remained in touch with us to help us search for job opportunities.”

She pointed out that joining the club had been very useful and that she would recommend it to anyone seeking a job because it helps participants understand how to apply for a job and how to network with people who can help them find an occupation.

“Before, I didn't talk to anyone,” she said.

Hadeel stayed in touch with the other Club members following the training, discussing the jobs they wanted to apply for.

She applied for a job in a food factory, and they accepted her. But, due to personal reasons, the work didn't suit her, so she decided to start a home-based food business.

Today, she prepares meals for schools and shops near her house, but she plans to expand her business to include nearby restaurants soon.

“My project is still new, and I'm reinvesting the money I earn to buy new tools and support myself. As soon as I start earning more, I'll definitely use some of my income to support my mom and dad,” she said.

Jordanian Abdullah Al-Majali, 26, Nature Club Facilitator with Mercy Corps – Comprehensive Security and Flexible Youth project, Al-Karak governorate.

Abdullah hails from Al-Karak Governorate, where he earned a degree in History at the local Mutah University. After completing his studies, he began to focus on careers related to training, psychological support, and youth empowerment.

Currently, he lives with his family, which includes his father, a retired military serviceman, and his mother, a housewife, all contributing to the household expenses.

“Today, I am proud of being able to support my family financially,” he said. “'Initially, it was challenging for me to secure employment due to Jordan's difficult economic situation, especially in this part of the country. It's tough to find suitable positions for History majors, and when you do, the required experience often exceeds my own. I'm still in the process of building my experience and developing myself.”

Abdullah learned about the Club through social media and a friend. The project's name had piqued his interest, making him decide to join it to boost his experience and skills.

“I immediately thought that the project could help me find a job,” he said.

The Club helped him learn how to write a cover letter and a CV tailored to specific job applications, as well as how to efficiently search for job opportunities that matched his skills.

Following his experience with the Green Job Search Club, Abdullah applied for a job with Mercy Corps and eventually secured this position.

“Today, my work is about facilitating sessions for the youth, focusing on the local natural context and surroundings, both from a theoretical and practical angle, including activities such as climbing and orienteering,” he said.

Abdallah is still in contact with other Club members in the area. They have even set up a WhatsApp group where they share job offers found online and give each other advice. “It is important that we support each other and create a strong information network among us.”

Abdallah stressed the importance of knowing how to prepare for interviews, develop confidence when applying for a specific position, and handle job interviews professionally.

“The Green Job Search Club gave me keys to access the job market. Now doors have begun to open,” Abdallah said.