Manta Air and UNICEF join forces to support skills development for Maldivian young people

Through the partnership, both organisations will collaborate on promoting children’s rights and to support youth skills development

UNICEF Maldives Country Office
Manta Air CEO, UNICEF Maldives Representative and UNICEF Regional Director holding advocacy materials for a photo
UNICEFMaldives/2019/yas1r
04 August 2019

The partnership between Manta Air and UNICEF, formalized through a memorandum of understanding signed on 1st August 2019, is the first  UNICEF partnership with an operator in the civil aviation industry in the Maldives.

The second decade of life is a time of incredible opportunities — but for far too many young girls and boys, a time of struggle for employability. Many Maldivian young people today are not able to transition to or complete secondary education and are hence not acquiring the skills they need to find future jobs that could bring them, their families, and their communities a brighter future.

This is a gap UNICEF Maldives Office and Manta Air are now trying to fill through a two-pronged approach focusing on skills development and child rights promotion. This innovative partnership therefore aims to support skills development for young people in the civil aviation industry as a new field of potential future employment for young people. Through the partnership between Manta Air and UNICEF, groups of young Maldivian women and men will benefit from 3-month long internship opportunities with Manta Air, aiming to offer the young women and men creative and unique learning and skills-development experience that may open up exciting future work opportunities for them.   

Mr. Mohamed Khaleel, CEO of Manta Air, said, “Manta Air is a local airline with 90% of its work force, nationals from the Maldives.  As an airline, our commitment to the industry is to keep building the local capacities needed to further develop and contribute to the growing industry, which caters for over one million tourists annually. We also understand that we have a responsibility to contribute to the development of a new generation of future employees, and what better way to contribute to this than supporting the development of the future of the nation; our children and young people. UNICEF has long-standing contributions to the education and development of children and young people, and we are happy to join UNICEF’s mission of making the world a better place for our children.” 

The multi-billion-dollar tourism industry, which is the country’s main  source of revenue, relies heavily on domestic transport infrastructure, especially air travel due to the remoteness of many of the nation’s islands. With an industry that requires multiple talents and a variety of specialized skills, the creation of local expertise is highly important for the future sustainability of the industry, as well as to ensure young girls and boys living in the Maldives don’t miss out on potential employment opportunities in this important sector due to a lack of adequate skills.  

UNICEF Representative to the Maldives Dr. Munir Safieldin stated that, “Globally, the annual growth in the number of young people entering the labor market exceeds the rate of growth in the number of new jobs created by the labor market. In the Maldives, many young people are unemployed and not in training. We need to be creative in opening new job horizons for them and preparing the new generation of young people for a competitive labour market.  This requires early focus on skills development and on-the-job learning, as well as strong mentoring programmes. The partnership between UNICEF and Manta Air opens a new horizon of skills development in a promising sector. Manta Air will provide groups of young women and men with a structured and guided exposure to one of the growing industries in the Maldives”.

Staff from both Manta and Air and UNICEF posing for a photo
UNICEFMaldives/2019/naeem

RAYS” of light for children’s rights

A second important component of the partnership comprises of promoting children and young people’s rights, both through specific articles in Manta Air’s in-flight magazine, “RAYS”, as well as by joining hands in celebrating key children's events throughout the year.

Next time you sit in a Manta Air airplane, we encourage you to pick up a copy of “RAYS” and read the latest update on UNICEF work in the Maldives for and with children and young people ”, adds UNICEF Representative to the Maldives,Dr. Munir Safieldin.