British Council Symposium on Employability, Skills and Opportunities continues work sessions in Cairo

JANUARY 28, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) In partnership with the League of Arab States, the British Council Symposium on Employability, Skills and Opportunities For young people in the Arab world continued its work sessions for the second day running on Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt, to seek solutions to better address the high levels of unemployment in the Arab world.

Job creation remains the region’s biggest economic priority, with 4 million young people joining the job market every year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

A number of workshops on various issues of relation to the Symposium’s topic were held and presided over by policy makers and practitioners from the Arab world and the United Kingdom, to discuss how to create more work for young people and help schools and universities prepare their students better for the world of employment.

A Lebanese delegation is currently partaking in said Symposium, comprising of Samia Abu Hamad from the Educational Center for Research and Development, Gilbert Dumit, Managing Partner of Beyond Reform and Development, Kamal Hamdan, Director of Consultation and Research Institute, Ousama Ghneim from the Educational Center for Research and Development, and Mirna Sabbagh Director of Programmes and Partnership, British Council.

Speaking to NNA on the steps that should be undertaken in the issue of employability and skills in Lebanon, Ousama Ghneim from the Educational Center for Research and Development said: “What is required is the adoption of a comprehensive national strategy in two areas: the first is defining new vocational, technical education structures, so that they become more flexible to the sector needs and allow a strong partnership with the labor market and stakeholders.”

In an interview with the National News Agency (NNA) and in response to a question about the British Council’s forthcoming projects and priorities in this regard, Mirna Sabbagh, Director of Programmes and Partnership, British Council, said: “Through our participation in this symposium we will identify the needed actions that aim to secure skills related to employability needs for the youth in Lebanon.”

“Among the priorities which the British Council in Lebanon intends to carry out in partnership with the public and private sectors are to raise the level of awareness and understanding of employability challenges and the development of skills faced by the Lebanese youth, through organising seminars and conducting researches on this topic,” said Sabbagh.

Sabbagh concluded: “We also hope to support the Lebanese government by working with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Educational Center for Research and Development, to devise plans and strategies on these issues.”

Gilbert Dumit, Beyond Reform and Development Managing Partner, underlined the necessity to introduce social entrepreneurship curriculum into secondary and higher education to equip the youth with the needed skills to create social enterprises, that would secure job opportunities through innovation in addressing socio-economic problems, such as education, health, environment and water.

The British Council believes that the key to addressing Arab youth unemployment is creating targeted education for employment initiatives.

SOURCE: National news agency – Lebanon