Preparing youth for the future of work with digital skills

Preparing youth for the future of work with digital skills

Sitting at the centre of a volatile region, Jordan is an anchor for regional stability, hosting refugees and promoting cross-border regional cooperation and trade. It is the second-highest host country per capita worldwide, hosting more than 2 million Palestinian refugees and 1.3 million Syrian refugees – who represent 13% of its total population of 10.2 million.

Youth unemployment rates in Jordan are reaching an unprecedented 48% and women’s labour force participation is at 14%, one of the lowest in the world. While there are growing opportunities in Jordan’s ICT sector, and an eagerness from youth seeking employment within tech-related fields, a gap remains between the opportunities available and a digitally literate workforce to fill them.

The digital divide in Jordan puts many young people and women at a disadvantage.

Jordan’s internet penetration rate stood at 66.8% of the total population at the start of 2022 and mobile connections were equivalent to 78% of the total population. Mobile phone ownership also sits around 21%.

These numbers represent continuing inequality impacting young people, women and refugees who face substantial barriers in education and digital literacy, preventing them from accessing economic opportunities to improve their digital livelihoods.

Digital Opportunity Trust Jordan (DOT Jordan) created the Digital Skills Programme to bridge the digital divide and enhance young women and men’s employability, digital engagement, and reach the most vulnerable and unserved in the country.

Designed in partnership with the private sector and young people’s needs and wants, the programme is curated to provide a wide range of digital skills training, in basic digital literacy microwork, data management, design and social media management, website development, e-commerce, programming and mobile application development. 

The programme is reaching the most marginalized communities through local partnerships, including the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship. DOT Jordan is offering its upskilling programme within the ministry’s facilities, leveraging knowledge stations across the country, created by the ministry. DOT Jordan also launched the first impact sourcing platform in Jordan: Bridge. Outsource. Transform (B.O.T). The platform supports remote working opportunities for participating youth by providing services in data management and collection for different clients.

Since launching in 2020, the Digital Skills Programme has led to more youth being prepared for jobs of the future with digital skills.

  • 3,933 participants have completed or are in the process of completing the Digital Skills Programme
  • 5,337 training opportunities have been provided to youth
  • 1:100 trainer to community member participant ratio– enabling 1 young trainer to empower 100 community members with digital skills for work
  • 72% of participants identifying as women, worked towards bridging the gender digital divide for young women and girls
  • 40 trainers, 15 identifying as women, worked towards delivering programmes and ensuring women and girls are included and feel safe
  • 100% of content delivered in local languages and co-designed with young people

This is Muntaha and her story perfectly shows the daily impact of the Digital Skills Programme in Jordan.

 

 

Muntaha Zaidan was seeking training programmes to develop her digital skills since entering the labour market is challenging and requires certain technical digital skills. She heard about DOT Jordan’s programmes from her peers and was encouraged to participate based on their experience.

Muntaha’s journey in the programme went through three phases. First, it focused on building basic digital skills such as creating an email account and using different Microsoft Office tools. The second phase introduced her to Micro Jobs and its potential, such as data management which includes data entry, data validation, data categorization, surveys, research, and other relevant topics aimed at developing youth skills to enter the gig economy.

On the third phase, Muntaha said, “DOT Jordan offers a variety of advanced training programmes. It allows each participant to select the one that best meets their needs. As a result, I chose website development and e-commerce through the WordPress training programme, a new field with a lot of potential that I am sure will improve my opportunities in the future.”

Upon completion, DOT Jordan connects distinguished youth with the B.O.T platform, which provides a network for experienced youth with temporary remote work opportunities in the Jordanian job market. Through this platform, Muntaha obtained a freelance paid job as a data entry officer. “I entered the labour market while still in university and gained experience, allowing me to improve my career after graduation,” she said.

Digital Opportunity Trust, through its country offices deploying digital skills at scale, is committed to the EDISON Alliance’s 1 Billion Lives Challenge to deliver digital literacy and 21st-century skills in the marginalized communities and schools of Africa and the Middle East, to reach an additional 1 million people by 2025.

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