Seeing the role vocational education could play in Palestine, the League of Vocational Education and Training started operations in the early 2000s. The organization now has 16 members throughout Palestine, offering learning opportunities to students from various backgrounds. With Vocational Education and Training in Palestine, students have a chance to work toward a better future for themselves and their families.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
The UNRWA is a U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees. The agency offers its support through vocational training and education offered to young Palestinian refugees. It manages eight training centers with semi-professional, trade and short-term courses in a variety of specializations that aim to prepare students for local employment. The region’s economic and social stability benefits from the specializations which include construction, nursing, hairdressing and fashion. The program has recorded significant success, reaching more than 123,000 graduates as of 2020. Even more, graduates of the program enjoy high success rates in finding employment or self-employment.
The UNRWA also supports young women through its training program. Out of the 7,930 trainees who graduated from the program in 2021, more than 3,500 were female.
Lutheran World Federation Vocational Training Program
The Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem runs another initiative tagged the Vocational Training Program (VTP). This initiative has served as one path for Palestinians to receive vocational training, even through programs specifically designed for blind students, since 1949.
The VTP works actively to strengthen gender equity in the region by providing culturally accepted training to young women. One such example is training in electronics and telecommunication. The graduating class in 2015, which had 227 students, was 20% female.
With two training centers in Ramallah and Beit Hanina, the VTP is able to train about 210 students every year in fields such as carpentry, auto mechanics and telecommunications. There are even on-site boarding options available for students who have difficulty accessing the schools due to checkpoints and the Separation Wall. Short courses are also available in villages and refugee camps.
East Jerusalem YMCA
The YMCA operates a Vocational Training Center in East Jerusalem that aims to reduce poverty and provide Palestinian youth with opportunities for personal and professional growth. In addition to vocational courses, the center offers career counseling, dormitory space and a daycare nursery. These amenities are particularly beneficial for young women seeking enrollment in the program.
Graduates of Vocational Education and Training in Palestine have improved expectations for their future. In fact, 82% of graduates expect a better chance of finding employment while a higher 88% expect to start earning income after completing their programs.
These high expectations happen to be evident in employment rates too. While roughly 30% of Palestinian youth are employed or seeking employment, the number is 90% for Vocational Education and Training graduates.
Hope for Palestinians
Providing individuals with access to education and training could help in reducing poverty, as it presents an opportunity for personal and professional growth. In Palestine, education and vocational training play a vital role in providing youth with the means to build a better future. The region boasts several vocational training centers that offer equal opportunities for young Palestinians of any economic, disability or gender status to become qualified for employment within their communities.
– Christina Albrecht