Countries in the south Mediterranean region have been subject to political and socio-economic challenges and instability, which has resulted in high unemployment, especially among youth, and in economies that are not creating a sufficient number of skilled job opportunities for those who need and want them.
UNESCO will be launching a new regional project, Youth Employment in the Mediterranean (YEM) in collaboration with nine countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia) to respond to these challenges. The project, funded by the European Union and part of their Neighbourhood Policy, will support national and regional efforts over a three-year period (2018-2020), towards job creation and youth employment through the improvement of skills anticipation systems and the promotion of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) including digital skills, especially among women.
Skills forecasting and quality TVET can support youth employment and professional aspirations
The YEM project will include national authorities, the private sector, TVET providers and youth organisations in the process. Borhene Chakroun, Chief of Section of Youth, Literacy and Skills Development at UNESCO’s Education Sector, explains how collaboration, skills forecasting and quality TVET will contribute to youth employment in the South Mediterranean region:
“The issue of youth unemployment is major policy concern in each of the beneficiary countries. By supporting the nine Member States in assessing and strengthening their national skills anticipation systems, their TVET policies, curricula and programmes will become better informed and able to promote quality TVET, as well as closing the gap between education and the world of work for young people.”
The YEM project recently had a national consultation workshop in Tunisia where Hajer Ben Abid Slim, Senior Adviser in curricula development at the National Institute for Curricula Development (CENAFFIF) participated. Reflecting on the potential of improved skills forecasting she says:
“The YEM project will give young jobseekers better information and orientation for their career decision. Within this framework and through regional cooperation, this will incite vocations and help young people to acquire the vocational skills necessary for their career development.”
“Young people will be involved through the organizations that are assisting them in their career projects and start-ups,” she says.
Other participants at the national consultation workshop in Tunisia, Mohamed Yahyaoui, Director, and Rym Ben Slimene, Assistant Director at the National Observatory of Employment and Qualifications (ONEQ) say:
“Given that Tunisia is characterized by a young population and the unemployment rate in this category exceeds 30%, it will be useful to establish a system for evaluating TVET policies, programmes and strategies and adopt adequate tools for the forecasting of skills. To succeed, it will be important to rely on a national body such as the ONEQ, which will be responsible for coordinating these activities with various national partners.”
The project is building on the achievements of the Employment Component of the Networks of the Mediterranean Youth Project (NET-MED Youth, 2014-2018).