Many of the 80,000 refugees living at the Za’atari Camp in Jordan are studying, working, or looking to find work. Whether it is in the camp or in the surrounding community, careers help people support their families while also learning new skills or exploring their interests.
Recently, 13 Za’atari Camp residents participated in a career guidance workshop conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF. This advanced training empowers career counselors to help job seekers at Za’atari find opportunities in private sector companies.
“Our objective from career counseling is to increase employment and income-generating prospects for young people, men, and women in the camp,” said Caroline Haddad, Blumont’s Country Director in Jordan. “Refugees are talented doctors, entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, farmers, and more. If given the chance, they will continue to contribute to their communities.”
The ILO/UNICEF training is part of the wider PROSPECTS program, supported by the Government of the Netherlands. The effort focuses on education, employment, and protection in the context of forced displacement, and aims to help young people explore careers and enter the labor market.
The training included how to help refugees build soft skills, plan careers, and understand job market requirements. Attendees also learned how to improve resumes and job interview skills. While the 13 Za’atari residents that took part had previously participated in a 60-hour career guidance development course conducted by Blumont, they all saw the benefits of additional sessions.
“I learned a lot during this training about time management,” said Ahmad. “As a career counseling volunteer, I would like to teach youth the value of time management and how to prioritize activities, which I believe is key to success.”
Following the ILO/UNICEF training, each career counselor worked with a group of 10-15 refugees at the camp and they have since graduated from the training program.
In total, we have supported a cadre of 22 career counselors working at Za’atari to provide guidance on topics including developing goals for their careers and continuing education. Maryam, one of the counselors, coaches women through the hiring process and helps them build their confidence.
“Work is important to women,” Maryam said. “One woman was hired as a tailor. I helped her prepare for the interviews with how to answer the questions and market herself.”
The opportunity for increased income can make a significant difference for a household—and career counselors can play a key role in connecting job seekers to resources that enable this to happen.
“Career counseling helps people understand their options, learn key skills, and find a suitable job,” said Omar Saleh, Assistant Protection Officer for UNHCR. “Job opportunities can create a sustainable future by which people can have a decent life.”