Job skills training programs offer youth in Lebanon an opportunity to find decent work
The effects of COVID-19 and Lebanon’s economic collapse need ambitious interventions if young people will be able to grow and dream. With support from UNICEF and its donors, Anera has been trying to mitigate the impact on young people. Hence, the creation of our empowerment, education and employability (E3) program.
Anera retailored our vocational programs to address the huge need for job creation amid the economic crisis. With the great efforts of our local partners and the enthusiasm of the students and their mentors, E3 has been successful. One example of success is to be found in our confectionery and butcher courses at Al Diwan, in the southern suburbs of Beirut.
Mohamed Salama, the director of Diwan Institute for Technical and Vocational Training, says,
“We divided our confectionery and butchering courses into two parts. In the first 50 days, we covered the basics and general know-how of each profession. The second and more hands-on part was a paid, on-the-job training. We then offered full-time employment to the students who stood out and excelled.”
Out of the 36 trainees, Al Diwan hired nine of them to work out of several branches across Lebanon. The remaining students will be referred to other private sector businesses, as well as additional vocational training opportunities.
Amira, a 24-year-old Lebanese citizen, said,
“I loved the hands-on experience! We actually sold the pastries that we made. And we got to communicate with the customers and tell them directly about the different types of products. It felt like a real job and the financial benefits were a great plus!”
Amira is one of the nine students who has started a full-time job with Diwan. “I proved that I am the right fit for this team and that I’m good at making desserts,” she tells us. “I also have excellent customer service skills.”
"It felt like a real job and the financial benefits were a great plus!”
Mustafa is a 24-year-old Lebanese butcher trainee. He emphasizes the importance of the soft skills that he and his colleagues gained from the course: communication skills, customer service experience, and most importantly in his opinion, team work.
“Today I’m able to do almost everything that the butcher profession calls for. Working with food requires focus and the ability to work in a team. And, now I’m an employee at Al Diwan.”
Seventeen-year-old Said, also a Lebanese national, was another one of the pastry course students. Asked what he liked best about his experience with the course, he says, “Honestly, it's learning how to make delicious petit four!”
“Diwan hired me because I worked extremely hard to prove that I am an asset for this business,” Said says. “I intend to open my own sweet shop after getting more experience.”
Said’s message to Lebanese youth who, like him, were forced by their difficult circumstances to drop out of school, is to not postpone learning a trade or profession that can help change their lives and secure their futures.