As unemployment soars youth find work through UNICEF training and internship program
UNICEF and EMPOWER, knowing almost half of the youth in Lebanon are unemployed, have run both theoretical and hands-on training in sectors which have a shortage of workers in order to increase employability and provide avenues to work
As of this year, the unemployment rate among youth in Lebanon aged 15 – 24 is 47.8%, creating greater stress on a population already reeling from the economic crisis.
It is because of this, UNICEF in partnership with EMPOWER and Mada have run a skill building and employability program for the adolescents and youth in Akkar and North Lebanon.
The north of the country, in places like Tripoli and Akkar are particularly affected by the crisis and many families have fallen into poverty.
Empower North Lebanon Field Officer, Yara describes the unemployment level in Lebanon as “catastrophic.”
“The unemployment in Lebanon is very stressful for everyone, everyone is looking for a job, and the situation overall is very catastrophic, the crisis is getting worse and worse,” Yara says.
As part of the program, 155 youth were able to participate in theoretical training covering the sectors of agriculture and poultry, livestock management, electrical maintenance and greenhouse management before going on to have hands-on experience in paid internships.
The sectors were chosen based on the needs in the north of country and the lack of workers in those fields, particularly in the electrical sector.
The hands-on experience is critical for the youth in order to understand further the job they are trying to gain work in, helping them to develop information they may not understand fully in the course, as Yara says.
“Hands-on training is very important for the students to know actually how the things work, in real life, other than just reading and seeing something that isn’t very applicable,” she says.
Charbel was one of the people who had the chance to join the electrical course and later have an internship in Rachiine.
“Luckily, after finishing the internship I kept working with the electrician as an assistant,” Charbel says.
Those in the electrician course were also provided basic tools in order to start their own business in home electrical maintenance if they wished.
“The main focus is for the youth to start their own work, not to wait to find jobs,” Yara says.
The youth who participated in the greenhouse management and agricultural training already had jobs prior in this field, though the training enabled them to build on this knowledge and be more self-sufficient.
Maria who had training in greenhouse management in Ardeh describes the experience as unique and the information passed on greatly important.
“In the sessions, the teacher almost covered everything related to greenhouses, planting, and taking care of our plants,” Maria says.
Those who trained in the poultry sector also received chickens and coups in order to generate further income and personally benefit from the eggs.
Having the opportunity to train in livestock management, Jana who lives in Dannieh says she learnt a lot of valuable information about livestock health and diet habits.
Prior to the sector specific training, the adolescents and youth are provided by career guidance sessions allowing them to have an informed selection of occupation, and in parallel of the occupational training they are provided by a life skills package setting them up with vital knowledge for the future, as well as functional skills package facilitating their learning to earning transition.