Introducing vocational training and jon placement for Jordanian youth

Aug 18, 2014

In 2013, UNDP and Jordan Education For Employment (JEFE, formerly JCEF), with the support of the Government of Japan and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), launched vocational training and job placement projects. The main aim is to alleviate poverty and to facilitate economic growth in underserved Jordanian governorates, including Irbid and Mafraq, that are host to the largest population of Syrian refugees. 

The Projects

UNDP “Mitigating the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on Jordanian vulnerable Host Communities” Project and Youth Employment Generation Project utilized EFE’s distinctive model to build partnerships with provate sector businesses and to provide vocational and professional trainings alongside job opportunities to nearly 450 vulnerable, unemployed Jordanian youth.

From the underserved governorates of Irbid, Mafraq, Jerash, Ajloun, Balqa, Tafila, Karak and Ma’an, the youth learned professional and vocational skills to prepare them for employment in the Hospitality, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Light Machinery and Garment industries.

The projects represent one of Jordan’s few successful market-driven approaches to employing youth in the vocational sector.

The Context

With a 30% youth unemployment rate, one of the lowest labour force participation rate in the world, and only 15% of women participating in the economy, Jordan struggles to connect its youth to jobs.

As growing numbers of Syrian refugees enter Jordan, the urgent need to alleviate poverty and facilitate economic growth is especially acute in the underserved governorates of Jordan where the UNDP - JEFE projects operated.

The Model

With support from UNDP, JEFE implemented the signature EFE model - partnering with companies that provide commitments to hire EFE graduates through joint selection processes and training that fills the skills gap faced by employers.

Meet Manal

Seamstress, Maliban Factory

Al Ashounah, Jordan

When she was 15 years old, Manal married into an unhappy household.  With her husband not working and barring her from employment as well, tensions escalated with Manal’s inlaws.  Her dream of living in her own home seemed desperately impossible.

After five years of conflict, Manal’s husband learned of the UNDP - JEFE garment assembly line training programme and permitted her to enroll.    She relished the confidence that her sewing skills and job provided, and the pride that her inlaws expressed over the garments she created.  Manal credits the “soft” skills training with transforming her personality, helping her to manage conflict and stress better - not just at work, but also at home.

“I am planning to have my own sewing workshop in Al Shoneh and will sell my products to my neighbors and friends. If you want something badly enough, you can get it.”

Meet Yahia

HVAC Technician, LG

Balqa, Jordan

At 18 years old, Yahia now looks to the future with confidence.  His optimism is a major shift from the pressures he felt as a 16 year old, when he left school in the hopes of finding work to help support his five siblings. After bouncing between short-term positions that provided little stability, he enrolled in the UNDP - JEFE vocational employment programme where he learned HVAC repair along with “soft” professional skills such as time management, workplace communication and self-confidence.  After a month of on-the-job training with electronics company LG, Yahia started a full-time job and is focused on building a technical career.

“I benefited from the programme...I learned lots of things. It has really helped me. Now I am a qualified technician in heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

I am happy.”

430 youth trained in vocational and soft skills

83%of graduates were placed in jobs

72%of the graduates are young women


Contact information
Jasmine Nahhas di Florio,
Nadia Al Awamleh,

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Jordan 
Go to UNDP Global