“I left school after the sixth grade, when I was 11 years old, but that didn’t stop me from having dreams and hopes for my future. I developed love for welding as I used to spend a lot of time at a relative’s welding shop. Watching him work, I knew I wanted to work in this field,” said Ahmad Mohammad Ali, a 29-year-old Lebanese trainee who participated in the advanced welding competency-based training implemented by the ILO and the Safadi Foundation, a Lebanese NGO providing skills training.
“I already knew the basics of welding from watching and working at my relative’s shop and working part-time in other shops. I also opened my own welding workshop, but running a business is not easy, especially for someone new to it, with neither experience nor formal qualifications,” said Ahmad, emphasizing the importance of the certificate he received upon successful completion of training and assessment as it provided credibility and helped him expand his business. “Since I graduated from the programme and announced that I now have a certificate in what I do, my business has improved a little and I have more customers,” Ahmad said.
However, due to the very difficult socio-economic situation in Lebanon, Ahmad is looking for work opportunities abroad. The training not only provided Ahmad with the skills he needs for employment in welding, but it also had a positive impact on his personal wellbeing. “I feel much more confident and I believe this shows in my work, which is now of a better quality.” He encourages others: “Even if circumstances are against you, do not lose hope! Technical and vocational education and training are important and can provide you with useful knowledge and skills.”
Ahmad is one of 100 Syrian and Lebanese people benefiting so far from skills training and post-training services under the Skill-Up Lebanon (Phase II) project – a joint effort of the ILO and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. The project aims to improve the acquisition of market-relevant skills and increase employability through skills training coupled with pre-enrolment career orientation and post-training support services.