Anera helps young business school grads gain a foothold in the job market
This story is about facing a challenge with determination, collaboration and good will. It all began when Bekaii, a food import-export company located in southern Lebanon, wanted to hire skilled youth for its Saida location. The company reached out to Anera for help after getting positive feedback from other private sector institutions who had hosted Anera's student interns.
Anera’s South Lebanon team partnered with the Routes for Development Center (RDC) to reach out to 18 to 24-year-olds with a degree in business administration. RDC hired business experts to develop a curriculum in different domains; from human resources and procurement to stock inventory, auditing and showroom supervision.
“To make this experience as practical as possible, the trainees would visit the Bekaii company every few days to shadow employees and learn from them,” explains Alaa Mohammad, Anera’s educational field coordinator. “They would also make use of what they learned in class and make suggestions to their trainers on how to improve the business structure.”
Lebanon’s worsening economic crisis and soaring unemployment has made it harder for young adults to find jobs even with a business degree. Anera has quickly adapted its programs to the changing circumstances.
Anera’s UNICEF-powered Education, Empowerment and Employability program, funded by Germany through the German Development Bank KfW, provides inclusive vocational courses for vulnerable Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi and youth who had to leave formal schooling for a host of reasons. Anera saw that there is a need to include training and support for business school graduates seeking their first jobs.
Khaled Muhammad Rabah is a 24-year-old Palestinian refugee living in Ein El Hilweh Camp. He graduated in business administration from Lebanon’s University of Arts, Science and Technology. As a Palestinian, his prospects for a good job are not high, given restrictions on employment for Palestinian refugees. He knew he needed to demonstrate his skills to excel. Then, he saw an ad for Anera’s course and enrolled immediately.
“My main goal from this course is to gain practical experience that I did not acquire during my university years. I am more confident now about entering the job market.”
"I am more confident now about entering the job market.”
Fouad Zein has a doctorate in business administration and has specialized in organizational and human resource development. With more than 20 years of experience, including 18 years in capacity building, he sees his mission to help create opportunities for youth. “This course is a chance for them to develop their skills and gain practical experience that will improve their chances of finding a good job. That is an amazing benefit.”
Zein sees a lot of young graduates with high expectations that are dashed when they are faced with the reality of the job market. “We are working to help transform that initial shock into positive energy that motivates them to work harder and gain more confidence in themselves.”
The chance to gain on-the-job training and expand her education is what drew 24-year-old Farah Al-Masry to the course. The resident of Saida graduated with a degree in international business administration. “I saw Anera’s course as an opportunity to stand out from the rest of the business administration graduates here in Lebanon and develop my expertise.”
Anera’s training is all about job market preparedness that immerses recent graduates in the reality of the business world. In that way, young trainees can experience a professional environment and understand what skills they will need to succeed.