07.05.2013 - UNESCO Office for Iraq

Entrepreneurship courses start at the TVET centres in Kurdistan

At a mechanical engineering class in a TVET institute © UNESCO Iraq

After several months of preparation, UNESCO Office in Iraq and the Ministry of Labour and Social affairs (MOLSA) in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced on Monday 6 May 2013 the start of the courses planned in the framework of “Fighting Youth Unemployment through Education".

Designed to tackle youth unemployment, this project implemented by UNESCO and MOLSA with the grant aid from the Government of Japan and ILO technical support, will provide 300 male and female Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) graduates with entrepreneurship training that will introduce them to modern self-management techniques, and enable them to set up and run their own businesses. The courses will be undertaken by 11 certified trainers from the ministry in five vocational training centres in Erbil, Dohuk, Sulaymaniah, Soran and Germian. The enrolled participants will be distributed according to their location to the closest centres from their hometowns.

Selected upon submission of their business plans, 200 of these graduates will be awarded a dedicated loan by the Kurdistan Regional Government, more specifically by the MOLSA, to start up their small businesses.

Director of UNESCO Office in Iraq Louise Haxthausen welcomed the start of the courses, confirming that "UNESCO has high faith in the outcomes of this project as they directly respond to the society's needs and most particularly the youth population". Mrs. Haxthausen also highlighted the importance of TVET, urging all Iraqis and especially young students to consider this option in selected career fields as it provides a fast and successful entry to the job market.

In addition to the short-term results created by the project and the significant impact it will have on improving the life conditions of individuals, the success of these small enterprises on the longer term will eventually create more employment opportunities for youth, and contribute in reducing poverty and improving the global economy of the Kurdistan Region.

Arab countries have the highest regional youth unemployment rate in the world reaching 23.4%, which is almost four times the global average; Iraq is no exception. The high unemployment rate of educated youth highlights the need to rethink the way education is delivered. UNESCO’s interventions focus on complementing education with programmes designed to respond to the country's economic needs and to the specific demands of the labour market.

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