Barcelona, 14 October, 2014. With the aim of fostering employment opportunities in the Mediterranean region, the UfM Secretariat has launched the first implementation phase of the project Skills for Success: Employability Skills for Women in Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco. The event was held on 10 October at the premises of the French Institute in Beirut.
During the event, UfM Deputy Secretary General Delphine Borione highlighted the project’s strong women’s empowerment component, making Skills for Success one of the UfM’s flagship projects. The non-profit organisation AMIDEAST — promoter of the project — presented the programme’s specific constituents, comprising 320 hours of training in English for the workplace, computer/IT skills, professional skills and job search strategies. The project is financially supported by Norway, Flanders and the private company PepsiCo.
Additionally, a workshop on vocational training for girls and women was held as part of the UfM’s efforts to support the region in achieving higher rates of employability. The event benefitted from the participation of Lebanese authorities in charge of vocational training, European Union delegation representatives to Lebanon, the European Training Foundation, the International Labour Organization, the European Feminist Initiative, as well as several civil society organisations.
During the discussions, participants stressed the need for a comprehensive approach and complementarity between the gender equality agenda and current social protection, employment and entrepreneurship/SMEs policies. They also called for intensified efforts to achieve higher standards in VET programmes, with stronger links between public, private, civil society and academic sectors. Successful experiences were presented in order to facilitate replication and exchange of good practices. The ICT sector was particularly highlighted as a new possibility for involving more women in the labour market. Moreover, the UfM Secretariat was underscored as a catalyst of regional programmes that can support strategic change on a policy level.
UfM Deputy Secretary General Borione concluded the workshop by affirming that “facing the great employment challenge in the region is a priority. Providing women with more job opportunities requires addressing the issue of women’s rights and gender equality. The current initiatives on the ground need to be supported and promoted to a higher level of implementation”.