Partner entities: International Business Leaders Forum, Jordan River Foundation, King Abdullah Fund for Development
Source(s) of Funding: ST-EP Foundation
Executing Agency: Jordan River Foundation
Main project objective: to reduce unemployment among underprivileged Jordanian youth while enhancing their participation in the tourism sector.
Jordan has invested in a five year national tourism strategy that aims to contribute to Jordan’s economic development and help to create more jobs in the labor market especially since unemployment among youth is considered to be one of the main challenges facing the Jordanian government. In response to these challenges the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and the Jordan River Foundation (JRF) in partnership with top hotel chains joined forces to start the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) in Jordan. YCI was designed to empower disadvantaged, vulnerable young people by equipping them with relevant life and work skills and expose them to a successful business environment and professionals that will enable them to make informed career choices and become employable.
Awareness raising: In order to raise awareness on the employment opportunities in the hotel industry among youth, and to encourage their parents to consider working in hotels, JRF announced the program in widely circulated newspapers and radio in addition to social media tools. Moreover, JRF conducted 11 introductory meetings with the local communities in Amman and other governorates in the Southern and Northern regions in coordination with the local community-based organizations and youth centers.
Capacity building: Once the participants were identified, screened and selected by both JRF and the Directors of Human Resources of the participating hotels, and the program started, hotel managers acted as mentors to the participants. Core training combined both theoretical and practical instruction, including personal finance, interpersonal skills, personal health and wellbeing. Moreover, participants received language and computer courses and continuous guidance and mentorship was provided by JRF to ensure that challenges and obstacles faced by trainees are resolved. After training, participants were assisted and monitored to ensure they make good career choices.
Main project outputs/deliverables:
In 2012/3, 46 youth (2 women) received training and internships in 10 hotels from the top end of the market in Amman and Aqaba. As some participants had other expectations about working in the tourism sector, 12 of them dropped out during the year. In 2013/4, another group of 39 youth (8 women) participated in the training and internships of the project. Thanks to active awareness raising, including a one week introduction camp, the number of female participants increased and the drop-out rate decreased.
The number of applications to the programme received in 2012 doubled when compared to 2011, and the number of women applying slightly increased as well. Out of the 190 applications, 23 were referred to the programme by previous participants, 9 through the social media tools, 97 through JRF networks with community-based organizations and youth centres and 15 through JRF staff (29 did not mention how did they found out about the program). Moreover, the number of participating hotels increased from 5 to 10.
Remarks: The project showed that awareness raising activities, involving also the parents of young people, can help increase the interest to work in the tourism sector and help enhance applications from female candidates. A short introduction camp proved useful to familiarize participants with the requirements of working in the tourism sector, and helped reduce the drop-out rate.