Among all the challenges youth face in Jordan, unemployment is causing frustration and depriving youth of securing a decent livelihood. The unemployment rate for youth has reached 50%, which makes it urgent to increase youth employability. There is no single institution to blame for that, it’s an accumulative and collective consequence of unorganized efforts.
Let’s start with schools and educational institutions. Do you believe the course you studied has actually prepared you to perform your job tasks? Were you prepared to build a CV and excel at job interviews? Are you even working in the same field you studied?
Let me guess, most of you answered with a big NO.
Of course, universities and schools are useful for building your knowledge and learning about the world around you, yet not sufficient enough to obtain your dream job. With no doubt, there is a huge gap between the skills needed for the labor market and the outputs of educational institutions. The labor market demands developed soft skills, digital skills, and practical skills. Courses should be developed in alignment with employers’ requirements and constantly enhanced to adapt to rapid technological development.
Or is it Jordan’s Economy?
Add to that the economic situation in Jordan and the bureaucracy in starting and maintaining businesses. Therefore, there is tough competition for employment in the limited availability of job opportunities. You need to outperform potential employees in the talent pool in order to attract employers.
Living in the era of digital transformation does not make it any easier, although Artificial intelligence is a source of new jobs, other jobs disappeared and no longer need human intervention to be done. And again, how can you secure such Big Data and AI jobs, if your education was outdated?
Oh! we cannot disregard the Wasta (connections) phenomena in Jordan which is one of the causes of unequal youth economic participation. In simple words, Wasta is when you have the right qualifications for a job, but not the right family name.
How to overcome youth unemployment?
As much as it is easy to spend our time blaming others for the obstacles we face in our lives, this won’t end up in solutions. We, as a youth, shall be actively looking for available opportunities to develop our skills and enter the labor market. It is our responsibility to explore internships, volunteering opportunities, and courses. Now there is great accessibility to educational online courses in various fields that can foster your knowledge and gain up-to-date skills that match the requirements of the modern workplace.
Based on all the challenges youth face in Jordan to enter the labor market. At JYIF, we have developed a new project that addresses competitiveness in the local labor market, youth skills development opportunities, and equal access to economic participation.
We present to you; Afaq.
Afaq is an innovative project that aims at building digital capacity for youth and onboarding them on freelancing online platforms. The project includes training sessions and workshops to provide youth with knowledge about remote jobs’ code of conduct and required digital skills to perform their tasks remotely. Along with career coaching to support participants in identifying the right service they can provide in alignment with their skills and educational background. As for soft skills, Afaq includes networking events to meet up with other freelancers and exchange best practices.
Later on, we will develop a project to advocate for a legitimate freelancers’ association. Due to COVID-19, there has been a noticeable increase in remote freelancing. Although freelancing platforms secure a contract between the freelancer and the client, there are no local protection laws. So, we identified the need for an association to legally register freelancers and protect their rights as employees.
In your opinion, what other projects can we develop to address youth unemployment in Jordan?
Read more about the Afaq project here