In Jordan, career guidance holds hopes for jobs
In Jordan, if you are a woman, there is 85 percent chance that you are not employed. At 14.9 percent, the participation of women in the labour force is one of the lowest worldwide, despite increase in education attainment and activation efforts carried out by the government and NGOs.
Recent ETF study on women’s situation on labour market in Jordan found that women do progress in education and are on par with men in this respect, but they rarely can find jobs afterwards and give up employment all together when they set up families.
Men don’t have easy entry into labour market either, because the key underlying problem is the mismatch between the skills produced by the education system—and also the skills desired by the young—and the real needs of the labour market.
‘Young people have wrong expectations,’ says Epke Vogel, an ETF expert who manages relations with the Jordanian authorities. ‘For example, so-called community colleges in Jordan provide technical education and teach future middle managers or high-skilled technicians for whom there is a strong demand in the labour market. But students still chose to study languages or law at the acadamic institutions, and await opportunities to work in the public administration or outside Jordan, or eventually face unemployment.'
That’s why the Jordanian Employment and Technical-Vocational Education and Training Council (E-TVET Council), requested the ETF to draft a policy paper for career guidance. The paper was presented at the conference in Amman on 21 March 2011.
In Jordan, the career guidance services are fragmented and implemented through number of scattered projects. Now the E-TVET Council will use the opportunity to build a comprehensive system linking the different initiatives and ensuring their complementarity and continuity.
According to Ms Vogel, career guidance should give the young and the unemployed a clearer, more realistic view on career opportunities, and should support them in making better choices what to study. The ETF proposal matches well with the awareness-raising campaign, which the E-TVET Council is about to start to project a better image of vocational schools.
‘In Germany or the Netherlands, 60 percent of young people go to vocational schools, because even modern, knowledge-based economies require large numbers of skilled workers, technicians and persons who able to assume middle-management positions in private sector,’ said Ms Vogel. ‘In Jordan, where the needs for such skills are similar, less than 20 percent of the young people chose vocational education and training, largely because of the image of these schools.
But there is also the other side of the problem: the deficit of decent jobs. Young people chose path to academic education, because they are afraid to end up working long hours, without security, in bad conditions in one of the jobs created by the large informal sector of Jordanian economy.
‘We need to work on both fronts,’ said Ms Vogel. ‘On the one hand, making education and training more relevant, promoting vocational schools as successful career option; and on the other, creating better quality jobs for the graduates of vocational schools.’
Find out more
Women and Work in Jordan: Case Study of Women’s Employment in Tourism and ICT Sectors
ETF Torino Process report on Jordan
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