Skill building, training programs, online courses: there are countless methods to prepare for a job and develop the skills needed to perform well at work. But in Lebanon, which hosts the most significant number of refugees per capita, the steep rise in unemployment due to the pandemic and concurrent economic crisis has made it challenging to access upskilling opportunities, especially for under-served communities.
To stand out in a shrinking job market, young adults need hands-on experience. To find a solution to address the employability situation, Kiron came together with Virtual Internships (VI) to create a unique blend of remote education and career growth for its learners through the ACCESS Project, supported by SPARK and the Islamic Development Bank – IsDB, and ISFD. Many students were eager to participate in this pioneering program.
Our longstanding partner, Virtual Internships’ mission is to democratize the global workforce so that anyone can land their dream job anywhere, based not on geography but merit. This is particularly valuable for people with refugee or asylum seeker status, who face many bureaucratic barriers. After our students completed their applications, VI matched them to companies in over 19 countries based on their skills, interests and competencies like leadership, communication, career management, intercultural fluency, digital technology and teamwork, thus achieving the project’s objective.
By the end of the 3-month program, 43 out of 50 students successfully completed the internship, with 51% receiving either full-time employment, a part-time or contractual position or an internship extension. The biggest takeaways of the participants (97%) from the project were Increased productivity and teamwork skills.
How did ACCESS reach this level of success?
Conducting sessions in English
International companies use English as their business language. To make this a priority, most of the interview training, CV writing and job preparation courses were conducted in English. These sessions boosted their English skills and improved their application and interview skills in the professional field. Support officers also helped students to record a video pitch for future internships.
Adapting to challenges
Internet stability has been a challenge for learners in Lebanon in recent years and makes it difficult for people to study online. Kiron supported students primarily through WhatsApp and supplied mobile internet data bundles to keep students on track.
Eihab Ballor, a Kiron student, described, “The whole experience is a highlight for me. It was the most unforgettable two months of my life. I’ve learned skills I would never learn without this chance. I’ve been able to make relationships worldwide. I’ve been allowed to be introduced to other cultures, and this internship was the achievement of my year. So I want to thank everyone who was responsible for this opportunity. “You made my life better!”
Combining preparatory training with hands-on, virtual experience has proved an effective pathway to the job market. With the success of the first cohort behind us, we want to scale this program both in Lebanon and other countries to bridge even more gaps in employment.
Reach out to Kiron Lebanon Country Director, Carine Borkhoche to learn how you can support this program or co-create similar impactful programs with us!