The MoU was developed with technical support from the ILO Regional Office of the Arab States. It aims to improve linkages between industries and training institutes in order to create better quality education and an enabling environment for a productive, innovative, and competitive industrial sector. The MoU forms a strategic blueprint for a public-private partnership to promote life-long learning in support of a national recovery plan.
Since 2019, the country has been facing an unprecedent socio-economic crisis which requires investment in human capital in line with the labour market’s present and future needs. The unemployment rate has substantially increased from 11.4 per cent in 2018-2019 to 29.6 per cent in January 2022. The unemployment rate for youth (15–24 years old) increased from 23.3 per cent in 2018-2019 to 47.8 per cent in January 2022 – LFHCS 2022.
This crisis places a premium on essential life skills that enable people to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, and emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning and the ability of the workforce to unlearn and relearn.
During the academic year 2020-2021, there were an estimated 104,000 students enrolled in public and private technical institutes and almost 240,000 students enrolled in public and private universities. However, employers in various economic sectors note that they often cannot find people with the right skills to fill key vacancies, especially for occupations requiring technical, creative, problem-solving or leadership skills.
“Improving education and skills is very important to enable full and productive employment for all in Lebanon as well as to cope with global and local economic changes. But advances in technology, greening our economies and ensuring sustainable food security all call for new skills seemingly overnight,” said ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat. “I congratulate both Ministries and the Association of Lebanese Industrialists on signing this agreement, which is an achievement creating a unique public-private partnership in Lebanon to support skills development and life-long learning. The ILO remains available to contribute further its expertise in support of its implementation,” Jaradat added.
I congratulate both Ministries and the Association of Lebanese Industrialists on signing this agreement, which is an achievement creating a unique public-private partnership in Lebanon to support skills development and life-long learning. The ILO remains available to contribute further its expertise in support of its implementation.Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States
Building a long-term and strategic partnership to further advance such public private collaboration is essential for the future of work, in particular for the industrial sector. Manufacturing is one of the top three branches of economic activity with the highest share of employment (about 10% to 12%); wholesale and retail trade (about 19% to 20%) and public administration and defence (about 10% to 12%) – LFHCS 2022.
“We will continue to build and progress in promising sectors, mainly the food industry, which integrates with agriculture, tourism, packaging, marketing and exporting," said Industry Minister Georges Bouchikian. He added that the collaboration stems from the importance of increasing coordination and flexibility and activating partnerships between the public and private sectors. “This will help secure an incubating environment for TVET students to acquire the necessary competences and modern technology knowledge for an honourable profession that guarantees them a decent life,” Minister Bouchikian added.
This MoU was put in place in alignment of national policies to build a quality competitive industry based on innovation, growth and renovation supported by a robust, demand-driven skills training system and highly qualified human resources.
"The current situation calls for more cooperation among all and innovative ways to activate recovery,” Minister of Education and Higher Education Abbas Al Halabi said. “However lack of administrative funds is preventing the technical institutes to support applied education and build skills. We are in constant contact with the Minister of Industry, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists and the syndicates of productive sectors to hold more partnerships to bring back life to the production cycle and invest in our pioneering human resources,” he added.
The Directorate General for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (DGTVE), which operates under the Ministry of Education, will greatly benefit from this collaborative arrangement whereby the three entities intend to share resources, experience and expertise towards achieving economic progress and addressing social needs. “This memorandum is a door of hope to the technical schools to prosper and prepare students for the future of work. This type of collaboration should expand to include not just food industries but all industrial and service sectors,” said DGTVE General Director Hanadi Berri.
“This partnership between the public and private sectors aims to address the skills mismatch by securing skilled workers who can help in stimulating economic growth and rapid recovery and supporting the transition to a productive economy,” said president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists Salim Al Zeeni. “It emphasizes enhancing the quality of technical education and vocational training to meet the requirements of industry and private sector institutions, in addition to developing industry linkages with educational institutes,” he added.
This tripartite memorandum of understanding supported by the ILO builds on common interests in an effective TVET system responsive to industry and enterprises requirements and contributes to job creation, poverty alleviation. It brings mutual benefits in securing skilled workers for fast economic growth/recovery and transition to a productive economy. Through this MoU, the three parties agreed to cooperate with each other on skills planning, upgrading curricula to become competency-based, facilitating technology exchange and real work experience, co-financing skills delivery, and supporting education to work transition and life-long learning opportunities. The Technical Institute for Food Industries - Qab Elias will be a pilot project for this cooperation as a future model of skills system and TVET centers for training, production, and entrepreneurship.
The ILO technical support was conducted within the context of the ILO Global Programme on Skills and Lifelong Learning (GPSL3) – SKILL-UP Lebanon – Phase II supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the Project “Improved access to employment opportunities for Lebanese and refugee graduates from skills training (ilo.org)” funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.