UNRWA Technical and Vocational Education and Training and Youth Programme
The UNRWA technical and vocational education and training and youth programme (TVET) provides practical training to young Palestine refugees. It equips them with the relevant skills and expertise for the regional labor markets.
The Agency runs eight vocational and technical training centers in the five Fields of UNRWA operation, with a capacity of about 8,000 trainees. Three types of courses are offered:
- Semi-professional courses of a two-year duration (technician level) are offered at the post-secondary school level for those who have successfully completed year 12 of schooling.
- Trade courses (vocational) of a one-year (skilled laborer level) and two-year (craftsman level) duration. These are offered at the post-preparatory school level for those who have successfully completed at least years 9 or 10 years of schooling (depending on the system of the host countries).
- Short-term courses: In addition to regular courses, short-term courses are available. These aim to prepare young Palestine refugees for employment in sectors where there is a high demand in the labor market.
A range of specializations at different levels are covered, such as mechanics, building construction, plumbing, refrigeration, electrical installations, auto electrical and electronics, photovoltaic cells, communication systems, mobile maintenance, hair dressing, fashion design, graphic design, accounting, assistant pharmacist, nursing, medical records, and physiotherapy.
These courses are organized in response to local needs. Most students succeed in securing employment.
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The programme is managed by the TVET and Youth Division in UNRWA HQ (Amman). It provides strategic leadership, professional guidance and assumes overall technical responsibility for the planning, management, development, and restructuring of all UNRWA’s training courses.
PLACEMENT AND CAREER GUIDANCE
UNRWA provides career guidance for school students to help them make an informed decision about their professional future according to their aptitude, interests, skills, and available job opportunities.
It also equips TVET students with employability skills and provides placement services for its graduates. Surveys of UNRWA graduates routinely show high success rates in finding jobs or self-employment within one year of graduation. Graduates of UNRWA training institutions also tend to achieve very high pass rates in state-certified examinations in comparison to graduates of other institutions.
Despite their overall good performance, UNRWA vocational training centers (VTC) face challenges because of the Agency’s budgetary constraints, including:
- Only limited places are available despite an increased number of applicants each year.
- New courses can only be introduced as replacements for existing courses.
- Course curricula need redesigning to cope with the new advancements and emerging needs of the labor market.
- Trainers need continuous professional development to keep up with new equipment and modern workplace practices.
- Outdated training equipment of some courses and deteriorating old workshops’ buildings.
Between 1954 and 2020, nearly 123,460 Palestine refugees have graduated from UNRWA training centres and 7,351 from education science faculties (ESF) in Jordan and the West Bank. These graduates’ active involvement in the economic life of the region has contributed to social stability and partially offset the high unemployment rates affecting many refugee communities.