Skills, Employability and Entrepreneurship

Skills, Employability and Entrepreneurship in the occupied Palestinian territories

In 2008 the ILO launched its flagship entrepreneurship programme Know About Business (KAB) to create awareness on self-employment as a career option for young Palestinians, enhance knowledge on starting and operating a successful enterprise, and facilitate the school to work transition of Palestinian youth as a result of a better understanding of business operations. In 2011 the programme was nationalized and today forms the core of the ILO’s enterprise development interventions in the oPt.

In partnership with GIZ and United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), the ILO developed the Technical and Vocational Education and Training module “Women Gain Employment Skills in Photography”. The aim of this project was to improve the economic participation and increase the standard of living for female Palestinian youth. Photography was chosen as a training subject based on the findings of an ILO survey. Trained in entrepreneurial and technical skills, 17 women from the photography course successfully graduated on 2 July 2011; some are already working for professional photography studios. In addition to the training certificate, the graduates were certified with a professional diploma from the Ministry of Education.

As part of the joint UN country programme on “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the oPt," and in partnership with the Islamic University of Gaza, the ILO initiated a project for skills development of women engineers in the construction sector in Gaza. Based on the assessment of “Construction Skills Deficit in Gaza” that identified a gap between demand and supply, in addition to the fact that most women engineers in construction sector were unemployed due to social acceptance reasons, the project aimed to enhance the project management skills of these women and resulted in increasing their participation in the labour market. Following the theoretical training, the project provided opportunities to women to access subsidized on-job training that aimed to encourage local SMEs to hire women engineers graduated within their framework. Targeted beneficiaries were female civil engineer graduates that were currently unemployed, graduated between 2008 -2010 and were willing to work in construction and contracting companies.

With funding from the Swiss Agency for Development Co-operation (SDC) and in cooperation with UNRWA, a separate project on “Skills Development and Employment Services for the Construction Sector in Gaza” was successfully implemented with the aim to contribute to skills development, employment generation and economic recovery in Gaza. The project contributed to the social and economic development of Gaza Strip, by enhancing the opportunities for over-aged students to enter and sustain gainful employment in the construction sector, through 3-6 months targeted training courses and 6 months on the job training. More specifically, institution based interventions and on-the-job training is undertaken to address skills deficit and to provide the assistance required in developing a skilled workforce in key priority occupational areas of the building and construction sector. The quality delivery of training programmes is supported by interventions that build the capacity of teachers and trainers to employ the Competency Based Training approach. See more…

In order to streamline the efficacy of skills education and market needs the ILO is undertaking two subsequent school-to-work transition surveys with a sample of at least 3,000 young people aged between 15 and 29 years.

Other future projects in the oPt include a planned project with the Islamic University of Gaza to establish a liaison centre with the private sector aimed at developing curricula and job training programmes to facilitate more effective university to work transitions. Finally, the ILO is also planning to launch a project on licensing for core professions in construction and auto repair sectors which will include adequate testing and certification procedures, social dialogue, and the linking of licenses with wage scales.