UfM Launches Training Program to Help Women Enter Job Market
The Barcelona-based Union for the Mediterranean officially launched last week an employability-skills training program labelled “Skills for Success: Employability Skills for Women” aimed to provide economically disadvantaged girls and young women who have completed secondary school (aged 15-20) with specific knowledge, skills and tools to enter the job market.
The program includes training in English and enhanced professional skills, including computer and business skills development, as well as job search tools and advice.
The program will initially target unemployed women in Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco, before being implemented in Egypt and Lebanon in a later phase in late 2014 and early 2015. The program is expected to expand to additional locations and increase the number of training cycles conducted annually, to potentially reach some 1,800 unemployed women per year. The program was launched during a conference on the empowerment of women in the Euro-Mediterranean region that brought together more than 200 participants from 35 countries.
The conference on “Women’s Socio-Economic Empowerment: Projects for Progress” debated ways of building the momentum for dialogue on gender issues at political and technical levels.
The conference underlined that a stronger role for women is essential if the countries of the region are to build prosperous and stable societies. According to a press release of the UfM Secretariat General, over the last 30 years, female participation in the labor force in the Southern Mediterranean has grown at a rate of just 0.17% a year, and only one in four women in the region are employed or actively searching for a job.
The gathering was also marked by the presentation of the results of the first phase of the UfM-labelled project ‘Young Women as Job Creators’ and the launch of its second phase. The project promotes self-employment and entrepreneurship through Women Entrepreneurship Days, providing young female university students with training to create new businesses. The project’s first phase was successfully implemented in 2013 in 32 universities from Jordan, Morocco, Palestine and Spain. The second phase will be implemented during 2014 in Albania, Egypt and Tunisia, in addition to the four initial countries. The third phase will further include Turkey, Algeria, Lebanon and Croatia.
On the sidelines of conference, the UfM Secretariat signed two funding agreements with the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs for an amount of approximately €1 million. The contributions will cover the projects and initiatives carried out by the UfM Secretariat in the field of gender equality.