Apprenticeship scheme offers Jordanian and Syrian women chance to sell to IKEA

A new ILO-supported sewing and embroidery apprenticeship programme in Jordan aims to boost employment and livelihood opportunities for vulnerable Jordanian and Syrian women.

News | 08 November 2018
AMMAN (ILO News) The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Jordan River Foundation (JRF) have joined forces to help Syrian refugee and Jordanian women find employment, including opportunities to produce and sell items to IKEA.

A new apprenticeship programme teaching embroidery and sewing skills has been launched by the two organizations, with a sales tie-up to the Swedish furniture giant.

The two-month-long training, which launched in early November, is starting out with 70 women apprentices. The focus will be on practical, on-the-job training. As well as embroidery and sewing skills there will be theoretical aspects too, including Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) and employability skills.

Those who complete the training will be employed as home-based artisans producing pieces of unique and locally-inspired embroidery and sewing that will be made into items like cushions, and sold to IKEA.

We are applying a new on-the-job training model which takes into consideration the family responsibilities of these women."

Maha Kattaa, ILO’s Regional Resilience and Crisis Response Specialist.
“This project aims to empower vulnerable Jordanian and Syrian women by teaching them new skills and linking them to employment opportunities with IKEA, where they will be paid per item sold,” said Maha Kattaa, ILO’s Regional Resilience and Crisis Response Specialist. “We are applying a new on-the-job training model which takes into consideration the family responsibilities of these women, allowing them to work from home, in an effort to encourage them to take on work opportunities that can help improve their living conditions.”

The programme is part of an on-going initiative between JRF and IKEA, helping women from both communities find jobs.

“Our partnership with the ILO is based on a collaborative model of offering women access to sustainable livelihoods through handicrafts training,” said JRF’s Director General Enaam Barrishi. “Building social enterprises under such partnerships is key to JRF’s vision of impacting thousands of community women and their families, as we continue our mission towards combating unemployment in Jordan, which is estimated today to have reached 18 percent.”

The ILO-JRF apprenticeship scheme is part of a Dutch-funded ILO project that supports the implementation of an EU-Jordan trade agreement to relax rules of origin for products.

Via the project, the ILO project is providing technical training and certification to workers in a number of sectors. It is also supporting the establishment of employment offices for Jordanian and Syrian workers in different parts of the country. The facilities provide both Jordanians and Syrian refugees with job counselling services, information on labour rights, training opportunities and job matching services.