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UK aid package for Jordan focused on developing employability skills

By Mohammad Ghazal - Feb 28,2019 - Last updated at Feb 28,2019

LONDON — The UK will provide a package of aid to help equip young Jordanians with skills of the modern workforce to increase their employability, UK International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said on Thursday.

At the opening of the London initiative, the UK official said the aid package includes a £25 million over five years to support the Jordanian government’s efforts to equip 200,000 young people in Jordan with English language and business skills for the 21st century. 

“This will enable Jordanians to take a leading role as their private sector world opens up,” she said at the event, in the presence of officials and representatives of more than 60 countries, investment funds and businesses.

The UK will provide young Jordanians with skills ranging from leadership, critical thinking, to problem solving, to help them better compete in the global economy, according to Mordaunt.

The British Council in Amman will form a new partnership with Jordan’s Crown Prince Foundation and the UK’s Prince’s Trust to develop a three-year pilot that would give thousands of young people the technical, entrepreneurial and people skills they need in business, she said, adding that other UK government departments will also use their expertise to contribute to the programme.

“Our Department for Education and Ofsted, the schools inspectorate, will help drive up education standards, develop a strategy for better use of technology in schools, and help Jordan evaluate school inspections,” Mordaunt noted. 

Jordan and the UK signed an agreement on Thursday to drive forward education reform and create new opportunities for future generations.

With 68 per cent of Jordanians being under 30 years old and 40 per cent of those aged 15 to 24 unemployed, there is a risk of a generation of young people being locked out of up-and-coming sectors, she stressed, noting that the UK has pledged to support Jordan’s plans to reform its economy and boost jobs for its young population.

Highlighting the importance of ensuring access to education for vulnerable children in the Kingdom, including Syrian refugees, she said that the UK will extend an extra £3.35 million to help UNICEF address the urgent needs of children not enrolled in any kind of education, in addition to doubling support for Mercy Corps’ inclusive education programme.

“This will ensure that no talent is wasted, and everyone has a part to play in Jordan’s growth story,” the official said, pointing out that since the Syria crisis began, the UK has contributed over 2.46 billion euros to help those affected.”

“We will continue to provide that support,” she affirmed.

The UK official announced a further £50 million as part of the UK aid package, targeted towards helping over 22,000 Syrian refugees with cash transfers, giving them the flexibility to decide how their family’s needs should be met.

“These transfers themselves are simple, efficient and a good use of aid — avoiding the storage and transport costs associated with other forms of aid... And they give refugees choice and dignity,” Mordaunt said.

“There is no doubt that Jordan has shouldered a huge amount of the fallout from the Syria conflict and their support for refugees needs to continue… But with international backing, Jordan can also prosper on its own terms… That is why the UK is making Jordan a trailblazer for a new model of aid,” she added.

Voicing appreciation for Jordan’s efforts, the official highlighted the Kingdom’s potential in several arenas.

“Jordan is a country rich in human talent. But while much of its workforce is young and highly educated, many still lack the specific skills to work in booming sectors such as IT and renewable energy,” she noted.

Therefore, the UK aid aims to provide young Jordanians with the essential skills needed to join the workforce, strengthen the economy and help their country become self-sufficient, the official said. 

“This is Global Britain at its best, using British expertise to pass on skills to Jordan’s workforce, making it an even more attractive place for British businesses to invest and giving the UK a stronger, more prosperous ally in the Middle East,” she added.

Jordan is uniquely positioned to take advantage of emerging global trends and become a regional economic dynamo, she added, stressing that Jordan is a safe, stable haven and a gateway to Asia and beyond.

“Jordan is resilient, and Jordan is determined… Today we come together with a new focus: to unlock growth, jobs and investment for Jordan — critical to building resilience for the country and the region,” said the UK official.

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