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September 22, 2022

SPARK awarded Employability International Impact Award

This September, SPARK was awarded the Employability International Impact Award, sponsored by the University of Sydney, during the PIEoneer Awards 2022 in London. We are delighted!

The PIEoneer Awards honour innovation and achievement across the whole of the global education industry. As an organisation, we are delighted to be recognised for our work to create opportunities for youth, women and refugees so that they can study, work and grow their own businesses in fragile communities. We are particularly proud of our colleagues in Iraq, as this award is won for an innovative programme developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which enables refugees, IDPs and other vulnerable youth to access remote internships and work placement opportunities, with fantastic results!

Remote Interships for Refugees, IDPs & vulnerable youth
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SPARK initiated a high impact programme supporting both MSMEs and job-seeking graduates, including youth, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), in Iraq. 

The remote internship programme trains and matches talented refugee, IDP and vulnerable graduates in Iraq to 3-6 month internships within national and international companies. These companies also receive support in the form of financial grants, training and help with digital adaption, which is important given the global shift towards digital goods and services in the wake of the pandemic. 

The programme has been highly successful for both MSMEs and interns, with 168 interns placed in 47 Iraqi and international companies. SPARK is expanding the programme to other fragile countries so that more young people may have access to valuable, career-boosting work experience opportunities. The programme was co-financed by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign AffairsIslamic Development Bank (IsDB)Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) through the Tadamon programme, and the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

Firas Deeb from SPARK Iraq collects Employability International Impact Award at PIEoneer Awards 2022

“It’s a great honour”
Firas Deeb, Programme Manager at SPARK in Iraq, who was present in London to receive the Employability International Impact Award on behalf of SPARK, said: “It’s a great honour to receive this award on behalf of SPARK…We are very greatful to the award committee to recognise our efforts in supporting students, refugees, young people accessing internship opportunities and digital [remote] jobs.”

Thank you to the PIEoneer Awards and congratulations to all the other winners and highly commended finalists!