UNDP organized a National Conference entitled “Youth Employment”

Nov 19, 2012

Speakers at the conference

Under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Nidal Qatamin, Minister of Labour, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the Government of Jordan organized a two day National Conference entitled “Youth Employment: “Challenges and Opportunities” at the Landmark Hotel during the period between 17-18 December 2012.

This Conference is organized within the context of the “Youth Employment Generation Programme in Arab Transition Countries-Jordan Component” project that is supported by the Government of Japan and implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Ministry of Labor and the Higher Council for Youth. The project aims at responding to the escalating need to provide tools addressing the unemployment challenge. In order to address the challenge of limited employability of the youth, the project provided selected youth (between aged 18 to 26 years) with needed skills for the labor market. The project also helped youth to seek job opportunities in the private sector, by providing internship opportunities to graduates of training courses.

The national conference was attended by Mr. Takanori Hattori, representing H.E. Mr. Junichi Kosuge Ambassador of Japan, Dr. Mousa Khalaf, representing H.E. Minister of Labor, Mr. Hussain Jbour, representing The Higher Council for Youth and Ms. Majida Al Assaf, representing UNDP.

Mr. Khaled Qubaja, UNDP Project Manager of the “Youth Employment Generation Programme in Arab Transition Countries-Jordan Component”, thanked all partners for their support to the the project, and explained that the national conference aims at initiating a policy dialogue on youth employment at the national and local levels; raising awareness on youth employment opportunities in Jordan; identifying youth employment challenges and opportunities at the local level (within governorates); and agreeing on key recommendations for practical actions.

Dr. Khalaf stated “Unemployment is considered to be one of the major challenges facing the Jordanian Economy in general, and this issue has grown in the past years […]- the most effective manner to increase youth’s involvement and thriving and developing of the societies is by providing reputable employment opportunities for youth”

“We hope through this national conference to create new opportunities and hope for the Jordanian youth” said Dr. Khalaf.

Mr. Hattori expressed Japan’s interest in continuing the partnership with UNDP, reiterating the importance of the project stating: “I know this project has achieved great success; I handed certificates to more than 70 young Jordanians who completed the initial phase. I firmly believe that the useful knowledge obtained through this project is helpful to initiate policy dialogue on youth employment at the national and local levels.”

Mr. Hattori added “Japan is firmly committed to maintaining the support efforts by the Government of Jordan to mitigate unemployment issues for young Jordanians”

Ms. Al Assaf stressed on the importance of the project stating “implementing the project has an evident positive impact on the career and personal lives of many youth. We have witnessed the positive energies in the youth and their eagerness to learn during the training period and later on in their high productivity at work […]. UNDP seeks to try to retain youth in their current positions after the end of the training period”

Ms. Al Assaf added “This conference sheds the lights on the current opportunities for Jordanian youth and addresses a number of challenges in trying to in an attempt to offer a lot of experiences at the international level, regional and national levels. It also gives an opportunity for youth to express their views and aspirations, in a larger attempt to understand the range of challenges that limit to meet the labor market for operating requirements, and the range of factors that control aspects of supply and demand”

“Jordan is one of the leading countries in the formulation of an employment strategy, which includes a mechanism and an action plan to decrease the rate of unemployment.” said Ms. Assaf.

Eng. Mohammad Shuqairat presented the National Strategy for Employment to the audience elaborating on the main challenges and aspects and opened the floor for discussion

Ms Carol Tyreler, UNDP International Consultant, presented the global experience on labor market needs stressing the need to focus on youth employment as they are the future political leaders, entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers etc.

The second part of the first day of the conference focused on the challenges facing youth employment in Jordan. Mr. Saddam Al Khawaldeh and Mr. Ahmad Al Bazay’a, members of Kuluna Al Urdun Initiative, presented to the audience the results and recommendations of the workshops that took place in Mafraq and Ma’an areas. Some of the major recommendations included implementing quality projects specifically tailored to the tourism sector; providing employment opportunities for youth in private sector organizations; and enhancing the cooperation between private sector and civil societie organizations to promote the linkages with the labor market.

The youth interns who have benefited from the internship opportunities offered by the project presented the challenges facing youth in Jordan including quality of education, competition between Jordanian youth and foreign labor, limited new job opportunities and insufficient projects in developed areas, among others.

Dr. Nader Myrian presented a study on youth unemployment and foreign labor. He stressed the importance of replacing the foreign workers, who amounted to 280 thousand in 2011, with Jordanian workers. Dr. Myrian presented recommendations for replacing foreign workers, streeing on the important of national ownership.

Day two of the conference focused on employment opportunities, policies and recommendations for youth. It commenced with a presentation by Mr. Bahri Aydin, UNDP consultant on “promising sectors for youth employment” and highlighted some recommendations, including the need for entrepreneurship programmes, increasing incentives to private sector, promoting global learning.

Amman Chamber of Industry, presented by Eng. Ali Naser Allah, outlined the skilled required by employers, including employable competencies, personal capabilities, and management skills, among others. He stressed on the importance of bridging the gap between education and labor market.

Eng. Thaher Alabed, representing the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Union, presented to the audience a brief on the union and the challenges it faces.

UNDP Environment and Climate Change Analyst, Mr. Mohammad Alatoom, presented the concept of “Green Jobs” that help to protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity, noting that investments have been made in green jobs in Jordon in sectors such as water, renewable energy, waste management and sustainable tourism among others.

ILO, presented by Mr. Yasser Ali, shared with the audience ILO’s new initiative on youth employment in Jordan “Tripartite Action for Youth Employment in Jordan” project.

Mr. Qubaja, UNDP Project Manager, presented the findings of the mapping survey on youth and employment policies and programmes in Jordan. Some of the gaps identified through the napping study include overlapping in interventions, the lack of a holistic sustainable approach to tackle unemployment, and the fact that most interventions are focusing on the short term output and concentrated around Amman.

UNDP Programme Manager, Majida Al Assaf, presented the Post 2015 Development Agenda. In September 2000, world leaders came together to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets - with a deadline of 2015 . The UN system continued to provide support to achieve the MDGs by the target date, the discussions on the development agenda that will build on the MDGs after 2015 has already started. The objective of the discussions and consultations is to stimulate discussion amongst national stakeholders, and to garner inputs and ideas for a shared global vision of “The Future We Want”.

At the end of the conference the participants reached a set of recommendations, including:

- Creating more programmes to people with disabilities.
- Implementing the employment national strategy to run.
- Strengthening partnerships between the various partners in the field of employment.
- Reducing the gap between education and the labor market.
- Establishing units for the training and development of human resources in productive enterprises

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