East Jerusalem youth experience vocational careers hands-on

Students learning in the carpentry workshop.

Career orientation and sport summer camp lets youth from East Jerusalem experience vocational careers hands-on

Inspired by the Mahatma Gandhi’s motto: “The brain must be educated through the hand”, 89 youth aged 13-17 years old gathered from different places in East-Jerusalem to take part in a week-long summer camp which aimed to support their career orientation by helping them discover more about themselves and their technical skills. The summer camp took place at the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Vocational Training Center in Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem during the period 13-18 August 2016.

During the activities of the summer camp, the 27 female and 62 male participants had the chance to go through different stages of career guidance and counseling, sport exercises to experience and reflect their personal and social competences and a practical phase of working in one workshop, as for example carpentry, plumbing or ceramics. At the end of the week each of the 80 participants have had the chance to work on one concrete project. Some of the other projects included catering, electrical and metal work, and automotive repair. “It is an exciting new approach what we have designed here,” added Yousef Shalian, Vocational Training Program Director of the LWF, “we let the youth experience their skills in this one week in a very practical approach.”

The LWF is committed to the empowerment of young Palestinian women and men. The Rev. Mark Brown, LWF representative in Jerusalem, confirmed that the LWF will be organizing more camps and activities focusing on career orientation and utilizing the sport for development approach.

One female participant, 16 years, highlighted the success of the initiative as follows: “It was such an amazing experience, going into a workshop where there are normally only male students and working side by side with them. Sports made us work more as a team since we don’t know each other."

Through an orientation to all workshops in the Vocational Training Center, an aptitude test, sports activities and hands-on work in the various workshops, the young people received support to get a clearer idea of the options in vocational education. The sport activities served to highlight the fact that sometimes there is a wide gap between dreams and reality, but also that with a measure of ambition, team spirit and training it is possible to attain one’s goals. The sport activities were implemented together with coaches from NGO Palestine Sports for Life. The coaches from Palestine Sports for Life were trained before by GIZ in the Sport for employability approach. The Education Initiative Madrasati Palestine supported the summer camp with cultural activities, like folkloric dance and drama.

The Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been implementing the Sport for Development Programme in the Palestinian territories since late 2014 on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development(BMZ). Sport in this context has the role of making vocational education more attractive, and by doing so it also supports GIZ’s vocational training projects/programmes. When used correctly, sport can be a means to teach personal and social competences (soft skills) such as teamwork, communication and decision-making – aspects that are fundamental in developing a career. Therefore, the teachers of the LWF VTC were trained in the approach and will start using the approach of teaching employability skills through sports in the Training Centre’s upcoming school year starting from September.

View more summer camp photos here.

To read the story in Arabic, click here.