Pursuing higher education often brings a promise of better job opportunities, increased salaries, and more stability. Still, recent graduates and young adults see much higher unemployment rates in Jordan, estimated at around 40% [MEI]. Syrian refugees and other conflict-affected youth are among them, taking about three years on average to gain meaningful employment [OECD].
While higher-ed enrollment rates are increasing along with the quality and accessibility of education, the unemployment trend is growing. The basis of this seemingly paradoxical situation can be seen in the lack of accessibility and quality of programs that facilitate a smooth school-to-work transition, which should include mentoring and skills training, primarily in industries like tech.
Re-skilling programs are an effective way to align the job market’s needs with qualified candidates. Working with the Danish Refugee Council and LOYAC, Kiron Jordan has developed the Pathways to Youth Empowerment (PYE) project, combining English language courses, sector-specific training, and self-employment skill-boosting to harness the talent of unemployed youth across Jordan.
This project aims to bridge the current skills gaps and tackle these three essential areas within the supply-demand mismatch that guarantee success in the Jordanian job market and beyond.
Jordan’s position as a hub for international organizations and businesses has made English language skills crucial for success in the job market. However, many educational programs are slow to adopt changing job market trends like this one. A lack of training in areas like English language skills results in many young Jordanians being less competitive in most sectors internationally. High-quality, online English courses are flexible, making it more accessible for youth, especially women, to study while caring for children and working.
One student who took the English training believes, “that all the skills and information I learn will help me achieve my practical and personal goals. For example, what I took from this program is professionally expressing opinions and ideas and responding clearly without ambiguity, and this may qualify me in the future to compete among my work team to perform the best results.”
Another gap is the lack of transitional or vocational training to help bridge post-graduates into the job market. Mentoring programs provide experienced guidance and career-specific knowledge to newcomers, again, especially for women. Together with a mentor, mentees identify their aspirations, define their career goals, and get tips on CV writing to become higher valued candidates. In addition, soft skills work focused on leadership, communication, and confidence also contributes to work preparedness and career longevity. Based on testimonials, our students agree that the most important skills they learned were time management, confidence, persistence, and precision during this training.
There are five sectors, Customer Service, Social Work, Business Administration, IT, Design, that Kiron Jordan has identified as requiring skilled workers. Creating a training program that tackles hands-on the specific skills needed for each will ease the transition through a tailored blended approach combining online and classroom-based learning to support students and provide flexibility.
With this program and many others like it, we are setting up sustainable and enriching pathways that present new career opportunities to support students in becoming self-reliant. While the future of work is dynamic and uncertain, prioritizing re-skilling enables underserved communities to adapt to any job market and reach their fullest potential.
Implemented by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in partnership with LOYAC, and Kiron, the Pathways to Empowerment and Self-Reliance for displacement affected Youth in Jordan (PYE) project will provide 500 young people with skills-based education and resources to excel in formal employment or entrepreneurial activities in line with the demands of the Jordanian market. Through this innovatively tailored approach, the project will enhance the social and economic empowerment and self-resilience of young Syrian refugees and other conflict-affected youth in Jordan. Kiron has officially started the sector-specific training and has already completed three months of English language training.