Empowering Moroccan Youth for Jobs
Students take an exam during an AMIDEAST-OCP course.
A new training initiative, developed in partnership with OCP Groupe, is focused on addressing the difficult problem of youth unemployment in Morocco.  Young people in Morocco are particularly vulnerable to chronic unemployment.   One out of three youth between the ages 15 and 24 in Morocco’s urban areas is unemployed, but the highest unemployment figures are found among high school and college graduates, reaching a rate of nearly 60 per cent.  Moreover, nearly eight out of 10 youth ages 15-24 have never worked or have been out of work for a year or longer; and the longer these youth remain outside the workforce, the harder it is for them to break out of this vicious cycle.

Launched in February, the AMIDEAST-OCP Groupe initiative targets disadvantaged Moroccan youth from Rabat, Casablanca, and Laayoune, the largest town in the desert region of Western Sahara.  Working through local organizations and associations that work in poor, underserved neighborhoods, the program identified 100 men and women between the ages of 19 and 30 years of age in each location to receive specialized training to help prepare them for the workforce. 

Today, many Moroccan companies, both national and international, are realizing impressive growth. As they expand, however, they are finding it hard to find qualified young Moroccans to fill entry-level positions. While many of them do provide on-the-job training for candidates who succeed in being hired, the chances of receiving such training are dim for the majority of recent graduates, particularly those from modest or poor backgrounds. Even though these youth often meet the minimum requirements for these positions, they lack the basic tools necessary in order to apply for and obtain a job. This is especially the case in the country’s robust service industries, in which the ability of job candidates to present themselves to potential employers and, eventually, to clients, is particularly critical.

The new five-month-long training program focuses on language and communications skills for the workforce, including  intensive instruction in business English with a view to passing the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), the leading workplace English test required by many Moroccan and international companies. Participants also receive training focused on building confidence and basic business skills. During the program’s final phase, the 10 best trainees, based on TOEIC scores and instructor evaluations, will be placed in internships with companies in Rabat and Casablanca.

“Professional training for underserved Moroccan youth is an urgent need,” said Joe Phillips, AMIDEAST’s country director for Morocco. ”We are pleased to be able to provide this program together with OCP Groupe — one of Morocco’s largest companies — and make a difference in the lives of these young Moroccans.”

 

―  Appeared in AMIDEAST Impact Newsletter, March/ April 2011