University students shift to vocational training to beat unemployment

University students shift to vocational training to beat unemployment
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AMMAN — Demand by university graduates for vocational training is increasing considerably amid spiking numbers of unemployed graduates and the persisting problem of incompatibility of educational outputs with labor market needs.اضافة اعلان

In the absence of real plans and projects to address this worrying challenge, the number of unemployed university graduates will continue to increase, exacerbating poverty, labor market watchers say.

Hayat Abdul Raheem, 30, who studied medical analysis and graduated from the University of Jordan in 2014, told Jordan News that “I applied through the Civil Service Bureau, and waited for a long time and did not get a job”.

“After that, I joined the Vocational Training Corporation to be trained in the field of management, and started my small project that finally secured me a livelihood,” she added.

Had she not taken that “smart step”, she said, “I might still be unemployed.”

Mahmoud Abu Jafar, who studied to become an engineer and graduated in 2019, told Jordan News that “I went to vocational training as soon as I graduated, because I knew that I would not find a job immediately, so I preferred to gain some skills and experience”.

According to him, “companies and employers require new graduates to have experience in order to hire them, and this is perhaps one of the most important and prominent reasons for the high unemployment rates”.

“Experience comes after work, and if there are not enough job opportunities, then how can we gain experience? Perhaps the only solution is to go to vocational training to enhance skills and gain experience, and look for a job after that,” he noted.

Abu Jafar pointed out that “the culture of shame constitutes an obstacle to those who want to join vocational training, as the prevailing belief is still that youths, upon graduating from university, must work in their specialization and for a reasonable salary.”

It is not just university graduates that turn to vocational training, however. Young men and women who could not pursue higher education, because of the difficult economic circumstances, also turn to it in the hope of finding employment.

Rana, 29, who works as a hairdresser, told Jordan News that ”vocational training was the best choice I made when I lost hope that I will be able to pursue university education and find a job that suits me”.

Lacking the financial means to pursue university studies, “despite my love and passion for studying, I stopped learning in the 10th grade”.

“I had a great hobby in hairdressing and everything related to hair and makeup, and one of my friends suggested that I should join vocational training in order to enhance my skills in this field, which I did,” she said.

Now she works “at one of the well-known salons and set aside money, little by little, so that I can complete my university education in the future or open my own business”.

According to the head of the Workers’ House, Hamada Abu Nijmeh, however, “the move among university degree holders to receive training in vocational training institutions remains low”.

While there are 130,000 graduates from universities, intermediate colleges and other educational programs annually, there are only 35,000 to 40,000 job opportunities in the private and public sectors annually, he said.

Abu Nijmeh said that students should choose their undergraduate majors carefully, and work on acquiring professional skills, enrolling in different courses “so that they can enter the labor market and keep pace with the needs of the market”.

According to Ministry of Labor spokesman Jamil Al-Qadi, university degree holders, “having found out that the market needs specific skills, besides university degrees, are moving to vocational and technical training to acquire the needed skills”.

Proof of this is the fact that the number of certificate holders who enroll in the Vocational Training Corporation “has increased year after year”, said Qadi, who noted that the Vocational Training Corporation provides guidance to students, and conducts periodic tours of all schools in the Kingdom in the months of August, September, February and March.

Mohammad Bakeer, director of a private vocational training center, told Jordan News that a small group of university degree holders “wants to completely change their majors and receive vocational training in order to acquire certain skills”.

He added that “youths who majored in engineering and alternative energy sources, in particular, undergo training courses in order to enhance their practical experience.”

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