Training young professionals in the Palestinian territories in line with job-market demands

27.07.2015 – GIZ is assisting the Palestinian territories to strengthen the economy by providing demand-oriented training for skilled workers and helping them find jobs.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been working in the Palestinian territories since the 1980s. Approximately 4.5 million people live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; around half of them in extreme poverty. The lack of prospects, which is particularly hard for young Palestinians, is often the root cause of violence and criminal activity. Unemployment is high and yet there is a lack of skilled workers, particularly in the crafts sector. This seeming contradiction however offers great opportunities for properly trained specialists – which is why the Palestinian Education Ministry is working together with GIZ to align vocational training more closely with the job market. The EU supports the project.

Their cooperation has led to the development of a uniform curriculum for vocational schools, rendering vocational qualifications comparable and making it easier for people to prove they have the right skill set. Training for vocational instructors has also improved enormously in that they now have extensive knowledge of modern teaching methods.

Enabling people to work in a job that nurtures their strengths and opens up good prospect helps prevent them from sliding into extremism. Therefore, this new strategy by the local authorities and GIZ essentially targets young people in their search for a suitable course of training. To date, more than 500 careers counsellors have undergone training, enabling them to advise school pupils and students.

Another reason why the great demand for skilled workers cannot be met is that many young Palestinians prefer to study. However, very often they are unable to find a suitable job afterwards. A problem Renal Qawasmeh knows only too well. After studying graphic design, she worked for two years in an underpaid job before deciding to retrain as a pastry cook. Today the 27-year-old is happy with her decision. ‘I love working with my hands. At the end of the day you can see what you’ve accomplished,’ says Renal, whose excellent skills earned her job offers from several different bakeries. For Renal, this is a clear indication that, ‘Society is starting to become aware of and appreciate professional work.’

GIZ’s global activities in the field of vocational education in 2012 reached around 140,000 trainees at over 4,300 vocational training facilities.