New Horizons for Palestine Refugee Youth - UNRWA Vocational Training Centres Provide Job Opportunities in Syria

26 September 2022
Ridha wielding at the UNRWA Damascus Technical and Vocational Training Centre, Syria. He is one of 8,000 TVET students across the Agency's five fields of operation. © 2022 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammed

The 11-year-long conflict in Syria and humanitarian crisis have left a devastating impact on Syrians and Palestine refugees alike. The financial resources of thousands of Palestine refugee families have been depleted by the surging prices of goods and services. Many struggle to survive amid the severity of displacement; compounded by limited employment opportunities. Like Syrians, the lives of Palestine refugee youth have changed over the past decade. However, despite these daunting challenges, they remain determined and hopeful for the future. 

Ridha,17, is a Palestine refugee living in Damascus who loves welding. He wants to turn his passion for the craft into a way to support his family. When he learned that UNRWA provided professional welding classes, at its Damascus Technical and Vocational Training Centre (DTC), he registered immediately. "I came here to learn new skills to be able to access the job market," he explains. Ridha enrolled in the Agency’s two-year diploma course. "I’m very happy that I chose this field. I really enjoy this kind of work," Ridha added.  "It’s rewarding to see pieces of metal transformed into an item you can hold and a product you can use. It’s very enjoyable!” added Ridha.  

He is confident that skilled welders will always be able to find work. Now a second-year student, Ridha is one of hundreds of refugees who attend this programme.  UNRWA operates five technical and vocational training centres (TVET) across Syria, offering courses to equip young Palestine refugee youth with skills and help them find jobs.

Highlighting the importance of the programme, Lina Awad, Acting Chief of TVET said: “Palestine refugee youth are the backbone and the future of their communities. UNRWA strives to empower them through its vocational and technical training programme, helping them find jobs in the local market and beyond."

The UNRWA TVET programme is sustained thanks to support from donor partners, including the European Union (EU). The EU is currently one of the three top donors to UNRWA and its support for the Agency’s work across its areas of operations has been fundamental in enabling UNRWA continue its work with and for Palestine refugees.