What We Do

Our students are among the most highly educated in the region. Since the 1960s, girls have made up around half of UNRWA students.

Vocational training

The UNRWA technical vocational education and training programme (TVET) provides practical training to young Palestine refugees. It equips them with the relevant skills and expertise for Middle Eastern labour markets. 

The Agency runs eight vocational and technical training centres with a capacity for 7,200 trainees. Three types of courses are offered: 

  • Trade (vocational) courses lasting one or two years.
  • Technical/semi-professional courses lasting two years.
  • Certificate programme courses lasting one or two years.

We also offer short-term training courses of 8 to 40 weeks, focusing on:

  • Advanced training to improve refugees’ existing technical skills
  • Providing a basic level of technical knowledge to untrained people.

These courses are organised in response to local needs, in cooperation with NGOs. Most trainees succeed in securing employment.


The programme is run by the TVET Division in Amman. It provides 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 professional and career guidance for students, and placements for its graduates. Surveys of UNRWA graduate trainees 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 certifying examinations.


Despite their overall good performance, UNRWA training centres face challenges because of the Agency’s budgetary constraints, including:

  • Limited places are available despite an increased number of applicants each year
  • New courses can only be introduced as replacements for existing courses
  • Course syllabi need redesigning to be more learner-centred and flexible
  • Trainers need training to keep up with new equipment and workplace practices
  • Outdated training equipment on some courses.

The Agency is maximising its use of existing resources and introducing new training techniques, such as online and distance learning, to increase the number of available training places. 

In a pilot project, UNRWA’s Damascus Training Centre offered one-year training programmes in seven areas where there was high demand from the local labour market. The new strategy is based on a competency-based training approach, with the courses tailored to specific market needs. The Division plans to introduce this model at other training centres.


Since 1954, nearly 83,000 Palestine refugee men and women have graduated from UNRWA training centres and education science faculties. These graduates’ active involvement in the economic life of the Middle East has contributed to social stability and partially offset the high unemployment rates affecting many refugee communities

Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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