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‘Enhancing younger generation’s life skills crucial for curbing unemployment’

By Mohammad Ghazal - Apr 07,2014 - Last updated at Apr 07,2014

AMMAN — Strengthening the younger generation’s life skills is crucial for curbing unemployment, which reached 11 per cent by the end of 2013, experts said Monday.

Mastering good communication skills and the English language, coupled with the ability to take decisions, team work and working under pressure are some of the soft skills that will make it easier for young Jordanians to secure jobs in the labour market, according to participants in a conference held by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) under the title “Skills for Life: Improving Employment Outcomes for Youth”.

“Young people are assets and they represent an opportunity for growth. They are problem solvers,” Awais Sufi, executive vice president of programmes at the IYF, said.

Sufi called for coordinated efforts and partnerships to support projects that seek to enhance young people’s soft skills.

Addressing unemployment among the younger generation should be a top priority in the region, Abdeladim Guerrouj, minister delegate to the minister of national education and vocational training of Morocco, said at the event.

Noting that there are tremendous social, political and economic challenges due to unemployment among youths in the Arab world, Guerrouj stressed the importance of focusing on vocational training. He added that the availability of well-trained and capable human resources helps in attracting investments.

Experts at the event highlighted that academic skills are insufficient to help graduates find jobs.

“Education is not enough to enable young people to find jobs, especially if it is not in line with the needs of the labour market,” Labour Ministry Secretary General Hamada Abu Nejmeh said in his address at the event.

He also reviewed the Kingdom’s efforts to enhance the skills of young Jordanians, referring to a series of programmes and initiatives to secure jobs for them.

Polly Dunford, USAID deputy mission director and director for Syria-related programmes, made similar remarks.

Reviewing USAID’s efforts to empower young people, Dunford said improving their skills plays a key role in enabling them to penetrate the labour market.

She also underscored the important role families play in helping their sons and daughters acquire skills needed in the labour market.

Several experts in the field of youth empowerment and representatives of NGOs, academia and the private sector are attending the two-day conference.

Several topics will be discussed during the event, including challenges facing projects that seek to enhance soft skills, the role of academic institutions and understanding the needs of the labour market. 

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