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February 10, 2021

Exciting news: Opportunities for youth in Jordan and Lebanon

We’re partnering with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development to reduce youth unemployment in the Middle East. Syrian refugees and nationals from hosting nations can now access in-demand education, skills training and internships, and we’re boosting curriculums to be better geared towards employment post-graduation. 

Youth unemployment is one of the most pressing issues facing the MENA region today. The crisis is particularly felt in Jordan and Lebanon, where the crisis in Syria has compounded youth unemployment rates, which stand at 36 percent and 17.6 percent respectively. 

In response to these immense challenges, SPARK and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development are aiding vulnerable youth, particularly refugees and women, to not only access education and vocational training, but to translate these opportunities into meaningful employment.

The new programme addresses the need for education institutions and the private sector to better respond to constantly changing situations in Jordan and Lebanon, due to instability, demographic changes, and the COVID pandemic. With curriculum support, we will ensure technical and vocational training schools (TVET) and universities offer better services to connect students with employment opportunities. To this end, we partnered up with University of Jordan and University of Petra. Education providers will be connected with the private sector to train young people with the skills needed in the labour market, such as digital, entrepreneurship and soft skills.

Additionally, the programme supports the local private sector to facilitate 150 market-relevant internship opportunities for young people. Gaining real work experience is proven to better equip youth for employment and provides a ‘foot in the door’ to the labour market. Building on previous experience in internship facilitation, we expect at least 45 percent of the internships will result in sustained employment for interns.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shift towards digital employment, the programme invests in enabling digital jobs, including remote internships, as these skills will likely remain vital even after the pandemic ends.