In a bid to counter the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s youth employment gap, INJAZ Al-Arab has joined forces with The Starbucks Foundation and Starbucks Middle East and launched youth upskilling programs across the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait geared at teaching financial independence and employability.
INJAZ Al-Arab, the region’s largest non-profit business organization for education and training in workforce readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship across the Arab world, worked with the coffeehouse giant and curated workshops and events across the UAE and Kuwait that will teach students about essential life skills such as money management, applying to and interviewing for jobs, and building robust career growth plans that enable individual and regional economic growth.
Commenting on the partnership, Akef Alaqrabawi, CEO of INJAZ Al-Arab, said, “Youth unemployment remains one of MENA’s most pervasive challenges, and it’s only exacerbated by the pandemic-induced economic outlook. The International Labour Organization reported that youth unemployment in the region was just shy of 26% in 2021 – a new peak. Our partnership with The Starbucks Foundation and Starbucks Middle East aims to reduce the burden of employment on the region by empowering students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and guidance to succeed in tomorrow’s world of work. Only through such cross-sector collaborations can we impactfully deliver new economic and professional opportunities that will uplift our communities and pay off for generations.”
The partnership between INJAZ UAE and The Starbucks Foundation aimed to expose students to employability, entrepreneurship, future jobs, digital literacy, and essential professional skills that will prepare them for the fast-changing work culture.
An exciting networking and learning opportunity for students, the Expert Hour saw industry experts, including Starbucks’ own representatives, share personal anecdotes and advice on employability in the modern market. The Career Success series prepares university students for the job market. Students will brush up their skills to write powerful resumes and cover letters, develop digital profiles and master the art of interviews. In Steer Your Career, students participated in discussions that tackled leadership, time management, communication and other soft skills that will set attendees up to be successful team members and leaders.
INJAZ Kuwait implemented Career Success, Job Shadowing and Head Start programs that similarly helped students prepare for their future job search, including resume building and emotional and tactical techniques for confident interviewing. Putting their newfound skills into action, the Kuwait chapter taught students how to secure and succeed as interns and identify opportunities that will reward their long-term career objectives. Students will also become experts in money management through sessions on earnings and income, smart budgeting and saving practices, risk management and consumer protection to make informed financial decisions for their future.
The MENA region has the highest and fastest-growing unemployment rate among youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years worldwide, aggravated by a significant ‘youth bulge’ where children and young people comprise a large share of the population. UNICEF predicts that over 271 million adolescents between 0 and 24 will live in MENA by mid-century, underscoring an urgent need to address youth unemployment and upskill youth with the skills of tomorrow.
INJAZ Al-Arab and The Starbucks Foundation’s partnership demonstrates their commitment to uplifting the region’s youth and ensuring they can participate in tomorrow’s digitally driven, global economy.
Through similar programs and sessions across the region, INJAZ continues to empower the youth by providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to make smart academic and economic choices.