“I had to leave school at the age of 16 due to my family’s financial situation. I am so glad I had an opportunity to join the training,” said Nouthayba Hawchar, a 26-year-old Lebanese trainee who participated in the agri-food processing competency-based training programme implemented by the ILO and the Safadi Foundation, a Lebanese NGO providing skills training. “After completing the training I was employed in “Khayrat” cooperative and I also opened my own kitchen in Akkar. I run it just like we learned during the training; I prepare homemade food in a traditional way and I sell it in supermarkets. I am earning money from it and supporting my family as well,” she said.
Hawchar describes her experience during the training as successful and positive on both professional and personal levels. “I gained a lot of new knowledge and experiences. It’s fascinating how much I learned in a short period of time,” she said. She also emphasized the importance of the accreditation and certificates the trainees receive as they provide credibility when applying for jobs.
The training not only provided Hawchar with the skills she needs for employment in the field of agri-food processing. She says it had a positive impact on her personal wellbeing, and empowered her to be more independent and confident. “I aspire to become a trainer one day and transmit all the knowledge and experience I received to other ambitious young people.” She encourages everyone to “never stop in the face of adversities, work on themselves and join such courses as life has so much to offer.”
Hawchar is one of 100 Syrian and Lebanese people benefiting so far from skills training and post-training services under 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.