March 4, 2024

Getting fresh graduates into their first jobs

Awad Al Khatib, a 22-year-old fresh graduate, is navigating Jordan's high youth unemployment through support from SPARK's STEP programme. With employability training from our partner, Education For Employment, Awad was matched with a job placement, which later evolved into a full-time position as an Account Manager.

Awad Al Khatib, a 22-year-old fresh graduate, started his journey to secure a decent job opportunity in a country where the youth unemployment rate stands at over 46%, according to the World Bank. “When you graduate from high school, you start planning on finding job prospects upon completing your university degree, only to discover later that it’s all a mirage,” said Awad. “Basically once you graduate, you need a job to gain experience, and you need experience to secure a job.”

Awad posits that the high unemployment rate in Jordan primarily stems from the gap between academic knowledge and the practical skills required in the job market. Currently, there is inadequate coordination between educational institutions and private sector employers to ensure that the curriculum taught by universities is in line with the needs of the labour market.

To address these challenges, SPARK collaborates closely with educational institutions and potential employers within the private sector as part of the STEP programme, supported by the Islamic Development Bank and the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Foundation. The programme aims to bridge the gap between education and employment opportunities. With our partner in Jordan, Education For Employment (EFE), youth, women, and refugees are connected with 3-6 month internships and job placements providing valuable on-the-job experience to enhance their CVs and acquire practical skills. Importantly, job placements are complemented by tailored training and soft skills development plans, providing participants with the necessary competencies to thrive in the workforce, enhancing their employability and socio-economic prospects. 

After Awad enrolled in the STEP programme, he gained access to tailored training sessions covering CV and cover letter writing, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, work ethic and teamwork. Additionally, he completed a technical course in customer service. Subsequently, he was matched with a job placement at a Jordanian startup, which later evolved into a full-time position as an Account Manager. “My focus is to grow and learn more,” says Awad.

Awad believes that a decent job opportunity is a relative notion. To him, a decent job entails alignment with academic qualifications, appreciation across all dimensions and fostering the employee’s growth and development. SPARK advocates for decent job opportunities by ensuring participants receive their full labour rights, including insurance, work permits, salaries and social security.