The non-profit organisation Education for Employment — Jordan (JEFE) on Monday launched a national campaign for the promotion of employment in the hospitality sector.
Launched under the patronage of the Ministry of Labour and with the support of the Velaj Foundation, the campaign aims to qualify Jordanian youth to satisfy the increasing demand in the hospitality sector through the vocational programmes available at JEFE, according to organisers.
With its world heritage sites and natural and cultural attractions, including a distinctive cuisine, Jordan’s tourism and hospitality sectors account for more than 10 per cent of the country’s GDP (over JD2.8 billion in 2016), a statement by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said in May this year.
However, according to sector employers, Jordan’s formal education system is currently unable to provide the skills required to further improve service quality and help the industry grow, the statement said.
The sector will create 20,000 additional jobs by 2020 according to Office Director of the Economic Development and Energy office at USAID Jordan Russell Bauer, who believes that “in Jordan, there is an imminent need for qualified individuals trained in hospitality specialties to fill these jobs.”
During the launching ceremony, JEFE CEO Ghadeer Khuffash extended her thanks to the Ministry of Labour for their support, noting that “this partnership has facilitated a rare joint venture between the public and the private sector, and our combined efforts will play an instrumental role in increasing employment in the hospitality sector.”
“As an organisation, we [JEFE] strive to create opportunities for youth by providing them with the qualifications needed to attain employment in all sectors,” Khuffash continued, highlighting that “the hospitality sector is currently the fifth biggest contributor to the Kingdom’s gross national product and, therefore, it is imperative to turn our attention to employment in this field.”
Asked about the possibility of implementing similar initiatives in other sectors, the CEO noted that the organisation creates its programmes according to current vacancies in the labour market, stressing that “at the moment, the hospitality sector is one of the most prominent sectors in Jordan, and it is about time to bridge the gap between education and labour market by providing our youth with the skills that the economy is demanding”.
Labour Minister Samir Murad noted that the partnership with JEFE is designed to lower Jordan’s unemployment rate, pointing out that annually, 3,000 new jobs are created within the hospitality sector.
“The current unemployment rates pose the biggest challenge for us at the moment, and we need initiatives like this one in order to match the skills of our youth with the needs of the labour market,” Murad continued, adding that “although the outcomes of education are not bad per se, we are in dire need to respond to the demands of the labour market by strengthening vocational programmes leading towards a qualified youth with strong technical skills”.
Founder of the Velaj Foundation Alexander Velaj was also present at the launching ceremony, where he expressed his “pride” in investing on such a national campaign noting that “the noble cause of providing opportunities for youth from diverse backgrounds to find employment, and perhaps a vocation, is a worthy venture”.
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