August 22, 2023

70 unemployed Gazan youth now securing jobs through newfound tech skills

Over 17-years of blockade on the Gaza Strip has had severe economic, social and humanitarian impact, affecting the lives of 2.23 million people. Since 2005, prior to the blockade, the unemployment rate has doubled, from 23.6% to a staggering 47% at the end of 2022.

While acknowledging the crisis requires long-term, structural action, SPARK and its partners work to create pathways for youth living in Gaza so that they can access sustainable jobs through skills development, entrepreneurship and business growth. Mahmoud – an aspiring technologist – offers a perspective on the aspirations and obstacles that define his generation’s experience. 

“As the saying goes, the neighbour hears his neighbour,” says Mahmoud, capturing the essence of the ever-growing population and compact living situation experienced by all Gazans. When Mahmoud and his fellow graduates completed their studies, they were full of hopes of securing a job. However, the reality they encountered diverged from their aspirations. Mahmoud was confronted by the widening skills gap which has left many young graduates unemployed.

“I realised that the job market requires skills that are not accessible [to us] as students,” explains Mahmoud. This stark realisation shattered his illusion of a seamless transition from academia to employment.


Digital skills against rising unemployment

SPARK’s Tech for Inclusivity programme, funded by and in partnership with Gaza Sky Geeks, introduces pragmatic solutions designed to reshape the job market for young Gazans. 

After graduating and finding himself locked out of the unattainable labour market, Mahmoud, and 70 other graduates, enrolled in the programme, which provides digital skills training for youth in vulnerable communities across Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. 

Mahmoud’s journey took a turn when he enrolled in a specialised course in Cloud Computing. Guided by experts and mentors from Gaza Sky Geeks, who understand the unique local challenges faced by Gaza’s youth, Mahmoud’s learning was both enriching and empowering. The programme equipped him with cutting-edge skills that are increasingly in demand in today’s technology-driven job landscape.

55 Gazan youth secure tech jobs

Upon completion of the programme, Mahmoud’s hard work bore fruit. He found himself standing at the threshold of a job opportunity in the private sector. His newfound proficiency in Cloud Computing not only differentiated him from the competition but also positioned him as a valuable asset to potential employers. Out of the 70 graduates enrolled in the programme, 55 have now obtained opportunities for full-time or part-time jobs in the tech sector, many of them remote jobs. 

“ The programme was an excellent starting point for me. I got the opportunity to join the team of a local company in Gaza, which allowed me to apply in practice the knowledge I had gained from the programme”, says Mahmoud. “I did my best to prove myself with the company and, thankfully, I managed to continue working with them”. 

By leveraging technology as a catalyst for change, Mahmoud’s story is a microcosm of SPARK’s broader mission – to bridge the gap between education and employment by cultivating skill sets that resonate with the demands of the modern labour market. 

The substantial unemployment rate in Gaza serves as a reminder of the challenges the youth encounter in their pursuit of economic stability. Mahmoud’s journey stands as a vivid testament to the influence of programmes designed to address real obstacles that confront young individuals.  By providing young graduates with the crucial skills necessary to secure meaningful employment, these programmes showcase their deep transformative potential. Through intentional partnerships and collaborations, SPARK is not solely nurturing the potential workforce of Gaza, but also fueling a movement that empowers young people to forge a more promising future for themselves and their communities.

Gaza’s dire economic landscape necessitates a sustained commitment, coupled with robust funding, to effectively grapple with the unemployment rate. The need for innovation, skill enhancement and vocational opportunities remains pressing, as young graduates continue to encounter barriers imposed by the prolonged blockade.

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