Improving job opportunities for young Palestinians
Title: More job opportunities for Palestinian youth
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Palestinian Territories
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), Ministry of Labor (MoL)
Overall term: 2015 to 2023
The population in the Palestinian Territories is very young: one third is between 15 and 29 years old. The unemployment rate in this age group is just below 50 per cent, and among university graduates even higher, at around 60 percent. This is increasing frustration and the lack of prospects for the young generation, whose lives are shaped by the effects of the Middle East conflict. High unemployment is therefore one of the most pressing challenges in the Palestinian Territories.
Despite high numbers of job-seekers, companies often have difficulties in adequately filling their vacancies. One reason is that the qualifications of the Palestinian Youth does not meet companies’ needs. This applies both to higher education and to TVET. Graduates often lack relevant practical skills and important soft skills such as teamwork or communication skills.
Employment opportunities for Palestinian youth have improved through training in line with labour market needs. Thus, both the Palestinian Youth and the Palestinian private sector are benefiting from the launch of a dual study programme and the implementation of the short-term courses.
The project is establishing dual study programmes – for the first time in the MENA region. It is also implementing short-term courses for marginalised youth to facilitate their access to the labour market. The project is based on the model of dual study programmes established in Germany and on previous experience with short-term courses in the Palestinian Territories.
The dual study programmes enable young people to gain practical experience in a company and at the same time acquire a university degree. In this way, the dual study programmes bridge the gap between theory and practice and increase the practical experience gathered during academic education. The focus is on four specialties: electrical engineering, business administration, information technology and industrial engineering. The dual study programmes are based on a close cooperation between Al-Quds University and the Palestinian private sector. The university provides the theoretical training, while the practical phases are developed and implemented in cooperation with numerous companies. Each semester, around 340 students are enrolled.
Labour market-oriented short-term qualifications of up to three months are designed and implemented for marginalised youth in cooperation with the private sector. Companies first specify the qualifications they need for their businesses – for example, when they are looking for technicians to install and maintain solar systems. On this basis, Palestinian vocational training providers design and implement appropriate courses.
In addition, employees in remote communities receive training on how to develop employment opportunities for young people – for example, by supporting women's initiatives that produce and sell traditional goods.
The project is part of the special initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation for stabilisation and development in North Africa and the Middle East. With the initiative's projects, the ministry is helping create economic and social prospects for the people in the region.
- The curricula for the dual study programmes Electrical Engineering, Business Administration, Information Technology and Industrial Engineering have been developed in cooperationwith the partner companies and have been approved by the national accreditation agency (AQAC).
- There are 336 students enrolled in the four dual study courses, 45 per cent of whom are women (as of February 2020).
- 216 partner companies are training the students of the dual study programmes. They train the students for six months a year and pay monthly training allowances of at least 200 US dollars.
- Employees of Al-Quds University as well as the instructors in the partner companies have been trained to carry out the dual study programme.
- A broad-based awareness raising campaign on the dual study programme has been running since 2015 and generated a high level of attention.
- The first students in electrical engineering (19 graduates) and information technology (11 graduates) officially completed their studies in February 2020. About 50 per cent of them had already signed an employment contract with a Palestinian company before graduating.
- 1,327 young Palestinians (44 per cent of whom were women) have successfully completed a short-term qualification. About 44 per cent of them have found employment relevant to their qualifications.