680 Young Lebanese Develop their Skills to Increase their Employability
- Rita and Kassem were among the 680 young Lebanese who received official certificates from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, 138 of whom have already been employed. Those who have not yet been employed are being supported to improve their employability. This project highlighted the importance of choosing technical training sectors based on market need.
680 young people from the Bekaa, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, and Mount Lebanon graduated on March 26, 2017 from the “Youth Employment Support” program at the Platea Complex in Jounieh. The ceremony was held in the presence of UK ambassador H.E. Hugo Shorter, UNDP Resident Representative in Lebanon H.E. Philippe Lazzarini, and the Advisor to the Minister of Social Affairs, Mr. Mario Abu Zeid. The graduation ceremony marks the end of the “Youth Employment Support” project, a project implemented within the framework of the Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme (LHSP) - a collaboration between the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) and the UNDP.
The impact of the Syrian Crisis and the influx of the displaced people into Lebanon has led to an increase in unemployment rates, particularly amongst youth and fresh graduates. This has had major ramifications on the Lebanese economy with adverse impact on future generations in terms of poverty and vulnerability. It is estimated by ILO that the influx of refugees has raised the unemployment rate to around 12% in 2014, in addition to raising the informality in the economy, which was thought to be relatively high in Lebanon well before the Syrian refugees’ influx. This highlights the importance and the need for projects supporting youth employment at this critical time. The project is funded by the UK and implemented by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Zahle and Bekaa, the Business Incubation Association in Tripoli (BIAT), the Social Humanitarian Economical Intervention for Local Development in the South (SHIELD), as well as Makhzoumi Foundation and Al Majmoua in Mount Lebanon.
50% of the graduates were females among whom was 21 year old architecture student, Rita Akl. “I benefited a lot from this two month training since we learned about Photoshop and 3D Max which I can really make use of, so it was a really good and productive training. Plus we studied some extra English which also helped a lot” said Akl. She went on to state “I hope that one day I can open my own architectural firm, and do my own projects”. Akl concluded that the graduation ceremony was an “awesome experience”.
Via vocational and technical training, as well as paid internship placements within identified local Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Lebanese youth got the chance to gain first-hand experience, learn new skills, and meet employers and partners that will support their future careers.
Another graduate of the training program, 24 year old Kassem El Malt stated “I trained for two months in cooling and heating and I am looking forward to working in this sector. It was all in all a fruitful and great experience, for we were able to directly apply what we learned”. Following the ceremony El Malt added “I feel great today for it is my graduation, and I hope that this program goes on to help other people in their training and search for job opportunities.”
Rita and Kassem were among the 680 young Lebanese who received official certificates from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, 138 of whom have already been employed. Those who have not yet been employed are being supported to improve their employability. This project highlighted the importance of choosing technical training sectors based on market need.
In addition to increasing the employability of the graduates, this program also focused on building the confidence of its beneficiaries. “After being recently divorced, I can finally say that I am standing on my feet again. I don’t think of the past anymore but instead look to the future and see how much this opportunity has changed me to the better and helped me create a life for me and my son. Most importantly, it made me feel worthy again.” explained Mrs. Sadder, a 25-years-old mother.
This program also goes towards achieving “Gender Equality” and “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, goals numbers 5 and 8 of UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are meant to be achieved by 2030.
Since its initiation, the LHSP has implemented more than 372 projects covering different sectors and benefiting around 1.1 million Lebanese and Syrians thanks to its wide range of international donors.