March 4, 2019

5 opportunities for graduates in the Middle East

Youth unemployment in the Middle East is at 21% according to the World Bank; the highest rate in the world. The Syrian crisis has exacerbated the need for jobs across the entire region with millions of young people settling in the surrounding host countries.

SPARK and others offer higher and vocational education scholarships to Syrian and vulnerable youth from these host countries, in order to support young people into jobs. However, access to postgraduate opportunities still remains difficult for many.

This list explores some of the avenues and opportunities available to young people after graduation throughout the Middle East.


#1 See what’s out there: job search

It’s super useful to check out the types of jobs available and what skills are listed, so you can see where to improve your CV and apply! If you’re still studying, get in touch with your university’s career hub who will be glad to assist you with understanding your job prospects.

Graduates in Turkey can check out Gelbasla, Yenibiris and Kariyer to search for the best fit.

Youth in Palestine can search on Jobs and Ta3mal for useful tips and great job opportunities to kick start your career.

Elsewhere in the Middle East (and North Africa) there are several public Facebook pages and websites connecting students to companies. Check out: Look in MENA, Dubarah, Bayt and Daleel-Madani, which offer jobs and career development services, such as CV writing. 


#2 Get an internship or apprenticeship

Many young people complain about applying for postgraduate jobs and employers requiring 3+ years of experience, for example. To boost your work experience and get ahead of the rest, why not find an internship or apprenticeship?

In Jordan, SPARK partners will local companies to offer scholarship students the chance to be matched to internships as part of our Improving Employment Opportunities programme.

In Lebanon, Beirut Digital District offers summer internships at startups, NGOs and companies they are connected to. Check out what is on offer!


#3 Start your own business

Entrepreneurship is an increasingly popular avenue for young graduates in the Middle East with incredible ideas. A few organisations that can support turn your idea into a reality.

In Turkey, SIAD has strong connections to the Turkish labour market and offers entrepreneurial services to Syrians. SPARK and SIAD recently carried out an extensive labour market study of Eastern Turkey to establish the job opportunities available to Syrians there.

In Lebanon, SPARK partners with Jusoor, Injaz and Berytech to provide courses for aspiring entrepreneurs and startups. In addition, the Facebook Group Startups Without Borders Lebanon aims to gather a community of migrant entrepreneurs in Lebanon who are getting their startup off the ground, to share resources, ideas, advice and opportunities.

In Jordan, the law was recently amended so that Syrians can own “home-based businesses” in various sectors without the need for a Jordanian business partner.


#4 Get incubated

For those with an existing business or startup, there are many incubators throughout the Middle East that offer support to grow your company and your network.

Five One Labs is a startup incubator which was first launched in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It provides talented entrepreneurs with training, mentorship and a community of creative changemakers to share their experiences with in order to launch their startups successfully.

In Jordan, organisations encouraging entrepreneurship include the Microfund for Women, the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development, the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation and the National Aid Fund.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Startups Without Borders trains and connects migrant and refugee entrepreneurs with opportunities and resources, such as incubators, accelerators, bootcamps and business trainings.


#5 Apply for a Master’s!

Perhaps you want to continue your higher education after completing your Bachelor’s but can’t afford the full fees. Youth all over the Middle East can use the Al-Fanar Media Scholarship Finder tool to search for financial opportunities.

Moreover, HOPES, offers scholarship opportunities designed for refugees from Syria and vulnerable youth in the host countries in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Turkey.

The STEM Scholars Program by Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education provides scholarships for Master’s degrees all across the Middle East.

And in Turkey, non-Turkish citizens can apply for scholarship from the Turkish government programme, Türkiye Burslari.

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