A regional seminar on apprenticeship systems in the Arab States
AMMAN (ILO News) — A regional seminar on apprenticeship systems in the Arab States concluded on Wednesday (April 1) with a revised action plan specific to each country aimed at improve national apprenticeship systems across the region.
The revised action plan includes:
- ILO support of a pilot programme on apprenticeships in Egypt’s garment sector;
- restructuring of the skills development fund to finance apprenticeship activities in Yemen;
- assessment of apprenticeship systems in Jordan aimed at developing a national apprenticeships model;
- review of the current E-TVET apprenticeship systems in Oman;
- review Iraq’s labour law to include articles on apprenticeship;
- establishment of a national fund in the occupied Palestinian territory based on Jordan’s E-TVET fund; and
- training of school teachers in Lebanon to become career counselors.
Hosted by ILO in collaboration with the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), the four-day seminar brought together representatives from workers’ and employers’ organizations as well government officials, members of the private sector, non-governmental organizations and national board members of Employment-Technical Vocational and Educational Training (E-TEVET) institutes. Delegates from Yemen, Oman, Iraq, (including the Kurdistan Regional Government), Lebanon, Jordan, the occupied Palestinian territory and Egypt also discussed the progress of reforms to their respective apprenticeship systems, based on the recommendations of a 2013 ILO seminar on apprenticeships.
“The revised action plan should guide both the ILO and participants how to move forward to improve existing apprentice systems and what technical assistance would be required from the ILO,’’ said Patrick Daru, Senior Skills and Employability Specialist at the ILO Regional Office for the Arab States.
According to the latest ILO figures, the Middle East and North Africa maintain the highest youth unemployment rates in the world at 27.2 percent and 29 percent respectively.1Quality apprentices have proven effective to overcome the work-inexperience trap that blocks youths’ transition from education to employment.
‘‘We all know the importance of qualified and skilled labour to market needs and demands and its positive impact on individuals in finding decent work as well as on the economy in terms or growth and prosperity,” Sayel al-Hadid, Head of the E-TVET Council Secretariat’s Technical Department in Jordan added. “In this regard, apprenticeships are a key element in facilitating the transition from education to the world of work.”
Rashid AL Maskari of The General Federation of Oman’s Trade Unions added: ‘‘There are many elements and schemes related to apprenticeship systems and the union plays a unique role in ensuring these elements are transformed into areality on the ground.’’
Participants at the seminar exchanged experiences on accomplishments since 2013, while considering challenges and weaknesses faced by apprenticeship systems across the region. The need to institute the main building blocks of social dialogue, legislation, financial schemes roles and responsibilities of apprenticeship systems were highlighted, along with challenges related to informal economy as well as creating an enabling social and economic environment for apprenticeship systems to thrive.
“There is no one system that the ILO promotes, rather elements of different schemes that can be replicated in order to design a functioning apprenticeship system, adapted to national realities,’’ said the ILO’s Daru.
The forth day of the seminar was set aside for the Palestinian delegation to work alongside the ILO and the BTC to finalize a roadmap for work-based learning in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“There are many limitations in Palestine when it comes to implementing apprenticeship systems, such as in financing and legal frameworks,’’Samer Hussein, Head of the Development Division at the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education. “We reviewed what has been achieved since 2013 in terms of apprenticeship systems and came up with a solid action plan, which we hope will help us tackle the country’s unemployment and create more job opportunities for the country’s youth.’’
In recent years, notable reforms of national apprentice systems in the Arabstates have been realized including the initiation of a work-based learningprogramme in the occupied Palestinian territory, awareness-raising activities in Yemen and successful pilot programmes to upgrade informal apprenticeships in Jordan and Egypt. ILO studies on informal apprenticeships are currently being conducted in Yemen and the occupied Palestinian territories. An ILO impact assessment of Lebanon’s apprenticeship system is also taking place to gauge its effectiveness.