Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies has concluded, in partnership with Oxfam, the three-year Youth Participation and Employment project. The components of the project included awareness sessions, dialogues, policy papers, and research papers.
The results of the project were presented at a National Forum, under the patronage of the Minister of Labor, Nayef Estatiyeh, and with the presence of the Assistant Secretary-General Dr Own Al-Nahar.
Ahmad Awad, Director of Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies, stated that the project aimed at a number of issues, such as practical training during university or vocational training, how to choose a post-educational specialization in schools, and encouraging young people to pursue vocational studies and choosing career paths that can provide them with access to decent work.
Awad stressed that many young people who chose to attend vocational training and community colleges achieved clear success and were involved in the labor sector, noting that the unemployment rate among female university graduates reached 79.2% while the same rate for males reached 26%, while the overall unemployment rate among university graduates was 27.2%.
Bisika Thapa, the Oxfam Gender Justice Project Manager in Jordan, stated that investing in the capacities of youth is not limited to investing only in university education and university students. Oxfam supports young people in accessing the labor market by promoting the job based on the skills young people required in the labor market. She also praised the partnership with the Phenix Center, noting the importance of dialogue about topics relevant to youth and raising awareness among the community regarding vocational education as a viable choice. She noted that youth employment rates in Jordan are among the lowest in the Arab region, which has been a growing problem. Youth tend to avoid pursuing certain trades due to a number of reasons, including cultural stigma, poor working conditions in these jobs, and new challenges brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. She pointed out that youth should be included in Jordan’s economic recovery, and should be involved in the debates on policy related to employment.
Hadeel Alqudah of Phenix Center presented the audience with the most prominent results and outputs of the project, which covered four governorates: Madaba, Balqa, Karak, and Tafila. 59 awareness sessions were held on the importance of vocational disciplines and the selection of educational specializations and the safety of women in work, targeting 1,715 young men and women, of whom 976 were young women. The project also held 34 local sessions on cultural and social factors affecting youth’s decisions as they consider entering a vocational trade, the expansion of vocational education and training, and the impact of the Coronavirus on young people in the labor market; 648 young people, including 437 young women, attended these sessions. Within the project, the Center issued 5 policy papers and studies on the respective topics: internships and career services integrated into educational curriculums, overcoming cultural and social barriers to vocational training, expanding vocational education, youth employment, and women’s safety at work.
During the project period, the Center issued about 60 social media messages related to youth employment as part of the project’s implementation, 9 videos on the paths of young men and women in the project, vocational training for work, and vocational specialization.
The representative of the Ministry of Labor, Dr. Own Al-Nahar, said that the training provided by the organization contributed to raising awareness about vocational and technical education in the direction of reducing unemployment, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively affected investment, employers, and workers – especially women. He pointed out that the data and the job transformation survey revealed that men lost more jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that the Ministry of Labor is working today to launch the National Employment Program and the National Employment Platform by supporting the initiatives of parents in remote areas, in addition to studying the stagnant and saturated jobs in the private sector.
The forum included a presentation of a film on women & safety in the workplace, as well as testimonies from four women entrepreneurs who were successful in their communities. The session concluded by distributing the certificates to the women who participated in the project.
The second session, entitled Youth Unemployment in Jordan and Urgent Next Steps, was held by Jameel Al-Qadi, Director of Media and Communication at the Vocational Training Corporation, Hamada Abu Nejma, Director of the House of Workers Studies Foundation, Heba Al-Awamleh, Director of Hashtat Foundation, and Eng. Fadl Al-Labdi from the Amman Chamber of Industry.