680 Lebanese youth develop their skills to obtain jobsMar 26, 2017
680 young people from the Bekaa, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, and Mount Lebanon, graduated on March 26, 2017 at Platea complex in Jounieh, Lebanon, in the presence of the UK ambassador to Lebanon, Mr. Hugo Shorter, UNDP Resident Representative in Lebanon, Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, and the Advisor to the Minister of Social Affairs, Mr. Mario Abou Zeid. This ceremony marks the end of the “Youth Employment Support”; the project is implemented within the framework of the Lebanon Host Communities Programme (LHSP) - a joint project between the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The impact of the Syrian crisis and the influx of the displaced people into Lebanon has lead 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. 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.
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. Out of the 680 young Lebanese who received official certificates from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, 138 young people have already been employed and the rest are being supported to improve their employability. This project highlighted the importance of choosing the technical training sectors based on market needs. As well as promoting the investment of MSMEs in the skills development of youth.
During the ceremony HE Mr. Hugo Shorter, the United Kingdom ambassador to Lebanon said, “‘Today is an example of a brilliant success story: 100% Lebanese youth, 300 SMEs up and down the country, 680 graduates and 50% are women! I want to congratulate those who have already found jobs, and those getting ready for new opportunities. I am proud of our work in and with Lebanon, and with like minded UN agencies and government departments. Keep dreaming, keep thriving to do your best for your country and yourselves.“
“The right to have a job is a human right; it is the right to build a life you aim for in your country. The right to support yourselves, your families, and your country to prosper at a critical time. The impact of Syrian Crisis had dramatic economic consequences on the region, and in particular, on Lebanon,” said Mr. Lazzarini.
"You are an example of the vast potential here in Lebanon. Lebanon is a fertile soil for innovation and fresh approaches. Indeed, it is a hugely resourceful country, capable I believe of impressive transformations if all its resources – natural, financial and particularly human – are mobilized,” he added.
“Unfortunately the crisis of Syrian displaced has affected all sectors in Lebanon. Before the crisis, we had a high level of unemployment which was exacerbated with the crisis,” said Mario Abou Zeid, Advisor to the Minister of Social Affairs.
“You need to be at the level of responsibility and carry on with the work and skills that you have developed during the training,” he said addressing the youth.
“The next phase of this project will focus on further developing it and the promoting the capacities of the remaining youth by allowing them to access the job market with solid competencies,” he added.
Kadri hotel in Zahle is one the MSMEs that opened its doors to the youth. Mrs. Setta Kroumian, HR Manager at the hotel, said during an interview, “There is a big demand here in Zahle, especially in hotels. When these youth come for training and we see that their qualifications match with the demand of the hotel, we directly employ them.”
One of the graduates, Mrs. Sadder, a 25-years-old mother said, “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.”
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.