Jordan’s Young People Discussing Work, Education and Career Guidance

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Young people in Jordan would rather work in the public than private sector. This is one of the findings from discussions with young people on work, education and career advice. Discussion groups were held by the ETF with the support of the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Arab Women Media Center.

Organised by the Arab Women Media Center, and its local counterparts, the ETF held three youth groups from 3 – 5 June. The groups were held across the country in central Jordan (Madaba), the north (Yaresh) and the south (Taibes zaman). Each group comprised a balanced mix of 10 – 12 young men and women. Discussions focused on how young people find jobs in Jordan, how their education and training prepares them for work and the advice they receive in helping finding work and choosing a career, including what to study. The young people that the ETF spoke to were open and eager to provide their views.

Employment in the public sector is the preferred option for most young people as group participants cited its higher pay and better working conditions (working hours and length of contracts). Even those already working in the private sector tend to regard these jobs as temporary solutions while waiting for something to open up in the public sector.

Education is clearly important to young people. The group participants saw education as useful even though they felt that the subjects they studied were not always essential to their jobs. However, employers do value education and require it from employees, even if education does not provide training in specific skills. Deciding what to study is usually a personal choice, although often influenced by their grades. Many young people chose what to study based on the assumption that there would be good employment opportunities in that field; although on graduation students found that this was not the case. Often young people complement their studies with additional training to acquire other skills, such as languages and customer service skills.

Gender also plays a role in employment choices and can be a barrier to employment. Many of the young women taking part in the discussion groups said that private sector employees would ask them to remove their hijabs. In some cases, parents did not want their daughters to work far from the home or to work closely with men.

The discussions took place as part of the ETF’s Torino Process assessment on the progress reforms on technical and vocational education and training (TVET)

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