Youth Gearing Up for Employability
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation supports ILO and UNICEF to equip Egyptian and non-Egyptian youth with employability, innovation and social entrepreneurship skills as well as career guidance services
"I benefited a lot from the job search club and realized that I had many skills, that I was not aware of, which helped increase my self-confidence,” noted Nidal from Sudan, a participant in a Job Search Club at “Because you are Human” NGO. “This program gave us the opportunity to develop ourselves greatly,” he added.
The “Because you are Human” NGO – run by a group of young people – works on raising the educational level of community members and improving their standard of living and services through livelihood support programs and the integration of foreign nationalities into the host community. Because you are human is a partner with ILO’s Job Search Clubs.
Marwa from Syria reiterated that she has acquired many experiences and skills from the program, and was especially fond of the ”Maharati” mobile application.
“Maharati is a practical application for everything we learned in the Job Search Club. I’ll be happy to share the application among my friends and colleagues who could not participate,” she added. "This application has very useful features for me, does not require internet while using it, and it also has the feature of conducting a personal interview through virtual reality, which does not exist in other applications.” Marwa also shared a success story of hers, explaining “I did not know how to apply for jobs, but I learned this through the club, thenI applied for more than one job and received a call from an employer yesterday, and will go for a personal interview next week.”
Maharati, a mobile application developed by the Youth for Future Project, gives refugees, migrants, and Egyptian youth remote access to the JSC’s material for an unlimited duration in both English and Arabic languages. Through the application, job seekers can learn how to write a C.V., assess their skills, analyze job announcements and their suitability, watch videos, and access other resources on how to prepare for an interview. They can even practice job interviews using the virtual reality feature.
Amira, a young lady from Eritrea who is having difficulty in finding her way in the labour market, expressed her extent to which she has benefited from the Job Search Club, saying, “There are many requirements in the Egyptian market to obtain a job that I was not aware of, but during the club I learned the official papers required by the employer and the places to extract them for non Egyptians. I also learned a lot about the types of contracts that can be used to employ non Egyptians (refugees and immigrants).”
The Job Search Clubs provide an enabling environment where young people gather and share resources and contacts, while searching for jobs in various fields under the supervision of trained facilitators.It aims to empower and assist young job seekers to find decent jobs in the shortest time possible. To date, through the Youth for Future Project, over 2,000 youth have benefitted from JSCs, out of which 48% are refugees and migrants, 1,200 from the profiling tool, of which 70% are refugees and migrants, and more than 1,000 have used the Maharati mobile app.
From a Job Search Club to Meshwary
Not far from the Job Search Club, the Safa Youth Center welcomes every day dozens of young people from Egypt, but also from Sudan and other countries for a skills development programme called “Meshwary” (“My Journey”).
Reem Mohamed is a Sudanese young lady who has been actively engaged in the programme for several months. She is only 17 years old, but already demonstrates an impressive maturity, stressing that Meshwary helped her to reach her goals and be a more determined person. “For example, I learned that there is nothing wrong with failure, as success means to actually be able to move forward from a failed experience, and move on to achieve another experience. I also learned from the Meshwary Ambassadors Initiative the importance of transferring knowledge and skills to others, and that there is always a social responsibility on my shoulders to support my community," Reem said. She added, "I learned also that diversity is power, I started to accept the idea that people are different by default and that having different perspectives contributes to generating various rich ideas which help society."
In less than ten years, there will be more than 33 million youth (10-24) year olds in the country, which will be almost 30% of the total population. This is a huge challenge for Egypt but also an incredible opportunity. To harness this huge demographic dividend, we need to equip adolescents with the skills they need to transition from learning to earning. This is what the Meshwary programme is about.
Led by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and supported by UNICEF, it aims at promoting young people socio-economic empowerment, through a package of skills that includes life and employability, innovation and social entrepreneurship skills as well as career guidance services to contribute to young people’s employability skilling.
Under the Youth for Future programme, the skills development programme has already equipped more than 5,100 young people, Egyptians as well as migrants and refugees.The programme built a cadre of trainers and master trainers from the staff affiliated to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to cascade it to youth in their local communities using youth centers as platforms. Additionally, a network of adolescents and youth (A&Y) ambassadors of “Meshwary”, from different nationalities, was created to promote their engagement as agents of change.
“Before becoming a Meshwary ambassador, academic presentations at the university were my main point of weakness. Now you can see how confident I am when presenting my success story to the delegation" says Malak Nabil, a 20-year-old Egyptian, after delivering an impressive presentation during a field visit to the Safa Youth Center. She explained that being a Meshwary ambassador, developed skills that she didn’t even know she had, especially in terms of public speaking and presentation skills. Malak believes that Meshwary paved the way to get introduced to young people from different nationalities, which she considers an incredible added value.
The Youth For Future programme is is supported by the generous contributions of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Both the Job Search Clubs initiative and Meshwary are part of the Youth For Future programme, which offers an integrated approach to the skilling of the Egyptian youth.