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Graduate Employability in the MENA region

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1 Graduate Employability in the MENA region
British Council research project

2 British Council Skills for Employability supports the education and training which Prepares people for work, skilled jobs and for day to day life Skills for Employability addresses the challenges of Globalisation and The demand for skills in a global economy Thus proving opportunities for young people within the region to acquire the technical and generic Employment skills to compete locally and internationally in the world of work The programme focuses on building strong relationships with industry and employers, governments and training providers, using the UK’s expertise on skills training where it is a market leader. Purpose is to promote skills development and innovation by encouraging closer links between education, employers and policy makers in the UK and worldwide. Through policy dialogue, partnerships for skills development, enterprise, and professional networks, the programme addresses the challenges of globalisation, migration and employment and the demand for skills and talent to secure innovation and enterprise in a competitive global economy. In Middle East and North Africa, particularly in Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, the programme aims to support Technical and Vocational Education and Training reforms through policy dialogue and policy development, pushing the human resource development higher up the policy agenda.” So far we have reached a total of more than 170,000 people through media coverage and through our events and activities. 20,000 of these have been young people and adults who we have influenced and raised the potential for employment through our Leadership and Management and Train the Trainers Events, Enterprise Awards, Skills Development Partnerships; also including those who we have directly supported through our Small Businesses Initiatives work to get or create employment opportunities.”

3 Why this research now? Arab Spring Voice of Arab youth
Regional rate of youth unemployment is over 25% - the highest in the world. Graduate unemployment is also over 30% in some countries How do skills gaps among graduates contribute to the unemployment problem? What do young people want from their education systems? How are universities and post-secondary vocational institutions developing graduate employability? Project rationale: High unemployment, growing graduate unemployment and emerging voice of young Arab people brought employability to the forefront of the political agenda Prompted by the social and political changes sweeping the region as a result of the Arab Spring and reforms aiming for greater alignment between education systems and the labour market. British Council has identified the need for a qualitative research project to explore the issue of graduate employability in MENA. 3 3

4 Project aims To explore the issue of graduate employability and employer engagement in the region To provide insight into how British Council can best support and work with its partners to improve the employability of public sector higher and vocational education graduates Recent upsurge in studies in the region broadly linked to employability helping to create and shape a more regional / national approach to employability Helping to define what can be done to help develop young peoples skills in order to open up opportunities The research will capture a snapshot of graduate employability at this juncture in time from the point of view of employers, institutions, students and recent graduates. It is anticipated that the research will date quickly and, as such, a light-touch narrative-style approach is preferred over a more academic study.  The project aims to : Explore issue of graduate employability Provide insight into different partners ‘perceptions’ of issue, challenge and solutions Provide insight for (BC and Partners) future direction for MENA Higher Education and Vocational Education Projects across the region Leverage relations with external stakeholders The main two outputs of the study: Consolidating into one document an overview of research and current trends, issues, policy and practice in graduate employability internationally and in the MENA Findings from the primary research It is anticipated that the research will complement other studies that are currently being carried out by groups such as IFC ( International Finance Corporation) and IDB ( Islamic Development Bank) EdExcel and the European Training Foundation.

5 Research methodology Desk and primary qualitative research
Post-secondary vocational and higher education sectors Capture voice of young people, employers and institutions 8 countries - Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE Young people Employers Institutions 24 focus groups across the 8 countries 185 final year students and recent graduates 17 in-depth interviews with employers across the 8 countries automotive, insurance, health, transport, aviation, oil, construction, retail, engineering and media sectors + 2 representative bodies 19 in-depth interviews with institutional respondents 9 universities 9 vocational institutions 1 ministry official Conducted across a 6 month period – desk based research first, interviews carried out between Feb – May 2012 Methodology: In country Intelligence Primary qualitative research will be conducted through a combination of focus groups (FGDs) and in-depth interviews (IDIs) outsourced to a reputable market research agency (with the exception of some IDIs – see below). Conducted a total of 24 focus groups across the 8 countries. Each group will be made up of final year students and recent graduates of higher and vocational educational institutions. The discussion guide asked students about causes/solutions for graduate unemployment, employability skills, and their experience (or not) of developing employability skills whilst in vocational or higher education. It asked what message they would like to pass on to policy makers and institutions in their country.

6 What is graduate employability?
‘…a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy.’ (Professor Mantz Yorke, 2004) Employability is a difficult concept to define – it is multifaceted - the term is used in different contexts and stakeholders with a range of meanings but the following definition has been widely adopted by HE sectors in the UK and EU. BUT Many factors are outside of an individual’s control Responsibility is shared - individual, employers, and public bodies - improving skills, supporting the job search process, influencing personal circumstances, labour demand Developing employability are those skills that go beyond the technical requirements of a role and influence how individuals interact with each other. They are often intangible and therefore more difficult to teach.

7 Why has employability become so important?
Growth of knowledge economies Greater international competition resulting from globalisation Less certainty among employers regarding the future requirements Call for improved forecasting of skills needs and education-based solutions Move away from the traditional job-for-life Increasing unemployment levels Notions of social justice, with employment seen as the solution to poverty and social exclusion Trend towards greater civic participation Employability skills are identified as the most critical skills in the current global job market especially in a fast-moving era of technolog. With fastest growing youth population within the MENA region education for employment is a challenge. With the shift from production to a service-driven economy it is increasingly important for people seeking their first job to not just have the technical knowledge but those essential soft skills required employers today.

8 What do employers want? ‘All (employers) value the analytical and reflective qualities that lie at the heart of a quality learning experience. But there is a growing emphasis by employers on the need for graduates to demonstrate a range of competences which will equip them to work in a global environment, in different countries, in multi-cultural teams, be innovative and enterprising and have strong language skills… Businesses have diverse and multiple needs for higher learning.’ (Council for Industry and Higher Education) The MBR Foundation study cited above surveyed the willingness of private sector to engage with the education system through a variety of activities including communicating organisational needs to the educational system, becoming members of university boards of directors, participating in forums, educational conferences and careers fairs, guest speaking, and providing mentoring schemes, graduate programs and internships. The results indicated a fair degree of willing, with the index scores of the target countries in this study ranging from 63% in Bahrain through to 69% in Morocco. Private were most suggestible to guest speaking, offering courses and mentoring, and least inclined to joining university boards. Despite this apparent willingness, the survey revealed that only about one third of the Arab CEO respondents had communicated their needs to the education system. Types of questions we asked: What does graduate employability mean to you? Is unemployment among education graduates a problem in your country? if yes we had a series of questions to explore deeper What are the key employability skills that your company requires from new graduates? In your experience, who is currently taking responsibility for developing students’/graduates’ employability

9 Developing employability: A global issue
‘Invest in the quality of education and training and improve its relevance to labour market needs. Education and training programmes that equip young people with the skills required by the labour market are an important element in facilitating the transition of young people to decent work. (Global Employment Trends For Youth: 2011 Update, ILO) These programmes should be based on broad skills that are related to occupational needs and are recognized by enterprises, and should include work experience components. Policy coherence and more effective coordination across education and training systems and labour market institutions should be pursued at all levels, including between Ministries of Education and of Labour, as well as public employment services, private employment agencies and education and training providers.’

10 What are employability skills?
Foundation skill: a positive approach = can-do attitude, willingness to participate, make suggestions, accept new ideas and constructive criticism, and take responsibility for outcomes Soft Skills Hard skills Self-management Thinking and solving Working together Understanding the business (Enterprise and entrepreneurism) Using numbers effectively Using words effectively Using technology effectively Speaking a foreign language Many frameworks and taxonomies, some countries eg Canada, Australia, Singapore have developed national frameworks. All broadly aligned. Soft skills = those requiring development of largely inter- (and intra-) personal skills Hard skills = functional skills = those primarily requiring mastery and practice of a body of knowledge Entrepreneurship and enterprise = not included in the UKCES definition but they are increasingly coupled with employability skills and included in UK education under the employability and enterprise agenda (arguably has elements of hard skills too)

11 How can graduate employability be developed?
Not a single process that is complete at graduation. Can be revisited many times during one’s working life Each component is essential & some overlap. In essence, by providing students with opportunities to access and develop CareerEDGE and reflecting on & evaluating these experiences, the higher levels of self-efficacy, self-confidence and self-esteem will develop Career development learning – what motivates & interests them, how to research job markets, present themselves effectively through CVs & interviews, make considered decisions about their careers; need guidance in how articulate their achievements and how can add value to an employer Experience (work & life) - Evidence suggests job placements etc are critical to promoting employability, ideally for 6 months or more. The US & Oz exemplify best practice with Co-operative Education models which place internships as a core element of degree programmes. With guidance, Ss learn from their work experiences to dev key competences & skills & enhance their employability. Employers value people who have undertaken work experience, been able to reflect upon that experience and then go on to articulate and apply what they have learnt. P’ships between employers and education are valuable in promoting work-related learning and in improving the quality and quantity of such experiences. There is a need to give Ss guidance and opps for WBL – whether as part of the course through simulations and projects, voluntary work, part-time, extra-curricular Generic Skills (The Pedagogy for Employability Group, ‘04, based on 25 years of research in UK) – includes imagination/creativity, adaptability/flexibility, willingness to learn, independent working/autonomy, working in a team, ability to manage others, ability to work under pressure, good oral communication, communication in writing for varied purposes/audiences, numeracy, attention to detail, time management, assumption of responsibility and for making decisions, planning, coordinating and organising ability, Ability to use new technologies, Also Enterprise (covered under first 3 and most of the others) & Entrepreneurial skills (not all Ss need and not essential in model) Emotional intelligence is ‘the capacity for recognising our own feelings & those of others, for motivating ourselves, & for managing emotions well in ourselves & in our rel’ps’. In the knowledge-based economy, emotional intelligence will become more important with the predicted expansion of customer-facing jobs. It can be learned and thus taught Reflection & evaluation – key to provide opps to reflect on & evaluate L’g experiences - includes FB from staff, peers and employers to look at learning experiences and prepare to put them into action in other situations eg this will critically assist in transition to workplace. Also central to getting hired is a grad’s ability to articulate and evidence his/her knowledge, skills and experiences gained from HE, and also is key to develop the 3 S’s – in UK Personal Development Planning (PDP) is a vehicle for reflection & evaluation and should include employability. 3 S’s – closely related & provide crucial link between knowledge, u’standing, skills & experience and personal attributes & employability. Self-efficacy can grow through a) mastery experiences ie when they can try something for themselves eg through work placements; b) vicarious experiences provided by social models, ie see others who have achieved success eg alumni talks; c) social persuasion ie that they are capable eg through tutor feedback. Given opps to reflect and evaluate on these experiences should grow self-efficacy, and in turn self-confidence, and self-esteem – everything the student does at uni should impact on the development of self-esteem Value of this (or any) E model – i) inform planning of programmes, ii) tool to explain employability dev to s’holders – academics, Ss, parents, iii) a tool for knowledge transfer activities, eg to demonstrate to employers how the roles of HEIs & business can contribute to GE with benefits for both parties. (CareerEDGE: The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability, Dacre Pool and Sewell, 2007)

12 International best practice
Driven through at national policy level: high level support Supra-institutional level: large-scale research and development projects – collaborations between students, employers and institutions – sharing of best practice Institutional level: commitment and vision to develop a supportive culture, and make employability core business Investment to develop high quality staff and resources Long term investment, over 15 years in UK to reach this level. Now one of the global leaders in employability practice in HE and FE sectors Presentation by Marlena Topple from Prospects UK

13 International best practice
Institution-wide approach – employability strategies and published employability statements - cross-departmental, collaborative, employability champions, dedicated posts Student and employer engagement Curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to develop employability skills Long term investment, over 15 years in UK to reach this level. Now one of the global leaders in employability practice in HE and FE sectors Presentation by Marlena Topple from Prospects UK 13 13

14 Employer engagement Student engagement work placements and site visits
curricular/extra-curricular design/providing materials role in assessment guest speaking mentoring students career development/ career fairs/job vacancies opportunities for institutional staff to update knowledge and skills members of national working groups membership of institutional boards and committees curricular/extra-curricular design student surveys responsibility for own skills development/supported with PDP and other reflective learning tools

15 MENA: The regional context
What did young people tell us about graduate unemployment in their country? Whenever my friends and I talk about studying, we say, why bother, either way we’ll be unemployed and sit in coffee shops.’ (Male student, Egypt) ‘It makes you feel as if your certificate is just a decoration’. (Female graduate, Saudi Arabia) They don't give fresh graduates a chance.’ (Male student, Kuwait) ‘I know the situation. I’ll spend a year doing applications and a year waiting for a job. We live in this country and we know the situation. We won’t lie to ourselves, it’s impossible to find a job as soon you graduate. It doesn’t happen in America or Britain, much less in Tunisia.’ (Male student, Tunisia) We feel pain that we worked hard to get jobs, time is passing and we are ageing. We feel that we have wasted out time in school. (Female student, UAE) SUGGESTION - get staff/actors to record these comments to overlay audio. In the 2010 regional ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, young Arabs cited unemployment as the second biggest challenge facing them after the rising cost of living BC focus groups - many said that they discuss unemployment among friends and family on a daily basis. Most described feelings of despair, depression and frustration regarding their prospects

16 What’s causing graduate unemployment?
What did students and graduates tell us? Insufficient economic growth and demand for graduates Employers prefer expatriates over locals (Gulf and Libya) Graduates want public sector jobs, and are opting for voluntary unemployment - they have unrealistic expectations (Gulf) Graduates are forced into the informal economy (North Africa) Too many graduates and their qualifications are not in demand Graduates lack work experience and the technical and employability skills demanded by the labour market ‘Graduate unemployment? The problem is often in the job seeker, not the job. They refuse jobs; they think they are too good for them.’ (Female student, UAE) It is no surprise to discover that graduate unemployment is a major concern for young people in MENA. In a regional 2010 survey, young Arabs cited unemployment as the second biggest challenge facing them after the rising cost of living.[1] [1] ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller (2010) Third Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2010, p.6 A number of economic, political and social causes have been attributed to youth and graduate unemployment in the region. These include: The massification of higher education: Higher education provision across the region has increased five-fold since the 1970’s. This increase in graduate labour has not necessarily been met by market-demand for high level skills. The preference for public sector jobs: Historically, the public sector in MENA has guaranteed jobs for all graduates or has had the capacity to absorb the majority of graduates. International observers such as the ILO and the World Bank have noted that having such a high proportion of graduates in the public sector has stymied private sector growth, and there has been insufficient growth in the private sector in the region to absorb the increasing demand for jobs. “The public sector however, offers higher salaries and/or better benefits and job security, which has led to a strong preference for government jobs: ‘People generally prefer the public sector because they work less and get paid more.’ (Male student, Saudi Arabia) Voluntary unemployment, Lack of experience , Competition from expatriate workers , Informal employment Unrealistic expectations: Related to earning power, the Education for Employability (E4E) regional youth survey noted that young people from across the region may have unrealistically high expectations about their working conditions or starting salaries. This was most commonly reported in the focus groups in the Gulf countries.[1] As one Bahraini respondent explained ‘He might find a job that is way below his aspirations and ambitions. For example he wants to start with his own office, and only do work related to his studies, but what he finds is that he’ll only be an assistant. This may bother him, and he might turn the job down.’ (Male student, Bahrain) Education and skills gaps: Education and skills gaps are one of the most oft-cited causes of graduate unemployment in the region. Mis-match of perceptions: Young people on the other hand seem to underestimate the importance of employability skills. For example, teamwork, rated as important by 94 per cent of employers in the CEO survey, was considered important by only 49 per cent of the E4E sample.

17 What’s wrong with the education system?
‘We should study subjects that will be useful for our future jobs; they should be more relevant.’ (Female student, Morocco) ‘Educational institutions need to develop Bahraini youth. They need to make them think. Change the curriculum itself, don’t just stuff it with content. Give students the basic skills and let them think for themselves, let them understand their subjects.’ (Male student, Bahrain) ‘Institutions need to revise the curriculums based on what the labour market needs and include new technology. There are curriculums that are very old. There are always new things coming out, the curriculum needs to be updated.’ (Male student, Saudi Arabia) ‘Students don’t participate in the learning process. Our role shouldn’t just be to listen - if I could participate, I would understand better, and also I’d concentrate more.’ (Female student, Egypt)

18 What is the nature of the skills gaps in MENA?
Quantitative - insufficient supply of national graduates in the Gulf Structural - oversupply of arts and humanities graduates and an undersupply of technical graduates ‘Universities and colleges should know what jobs are available and try to match that with the subjects that they offer.’ (UAE) Qualitative - soft and technical skills: 46 per cent of the region’s employers do not consider graduates to possess the right skills set (Arab Human Capital Challenge: The Voice of CEOs) per cent of employers reported that graduates were not work ready (Education for Employment: Realizing Arab Youth Potential) Employers surveyed by 2009 Arab Human Capital Challenge: The Voice of CEOs identified 3 types of gap Soft skills - The employers we spoke to focused particularly on English language skills, and also soft skills, especially communication, problem solving and teamwork. Positive attitude was fundamental. UAE Etihad: Recruitment stage mainly English, IT and attitude, possibly also comms and team working because they do task-based assessment. All the other skills are then developed through in-house training programmes. they’re going to need a management skills set Kuwait :‘Today I need a graduate who can express himself through communication skills and this is an international skill. He should have expressive language. I do not say he must speak English 100 per cent but he can express himself in an acceptable level of English. I ask graduates to have team working skills. I need him in a team.’ (Employer, Kuwait)

19 What did employers tell us?
‘Hard skills: English (or French) language skills were weak. Technical skills: ‘We take on accountancy graduates and find they don’t know anything about accounting. We have to give them internal training. It is very expensive.’ (Kuwait) Soft skills: ’Yes there are gaps and most of them are personal and interpersonal skills, things that we don’t teach here.’ (Egypt) ‘The biggest problem is communication skills; I can clearly see a major problem here,’ (UAE) Many graduates still consider themselves to be students even when they’ve got a job - they are still scared, still waiting for orders.’ (Bahrain) Libya also said IT skills were weak All of the soft skills came up NB re last point: Several employers said they lack courage and self-confidence and an institutional respondent noted that ‘they find it very, very difficult to take individual responsibility and to be held accountable for their own management. It’s a big issue.’ Students themselves were not so aware of the importance of soft skills and many think they don’t need them to get a job, and some believe they can’t be developed until they’ve got a job.

20 Developing graduate employability in MENA
Regional agreement that education for employment agenda represents a significant challenge and requires urgent attention (E4E study) The report called on governments to ‘put e4e right at the top of the national agenda…and actively reach out to the individual players.’ Respondents across MENA confirmed that public sector initiatives and reforms to address aspects of employability are planned or taking place across the region Many based and/or benchmarked on international practice - examples of good practice. But, limited or no institutional collaborations or multi-stakeholder forums established

21 Institutional engagement and support
Few or no explicit institutional employability policies or strategies in the region Institution-wide commitment to and focus on employability evident in only small number of institutions: support from top, dedicated career staff/internship and employer relations staff, collaborations across departments Some institutions benefiting from international institutional partnerships Many institutions just starting to introduce initiatives Challenges: lack of resources, systems, models, competing priorities, lack of staff commitment, resistance, structural and cultural barriers

22 Student engagement and support
No examples of student representation or consultation at national level in educational decisions, or evidence that students are involved in employability reforms. Positive signs that some countries in the region are formalising a participatory role for young people in broader educational decisions Student elections Student committees Participatory role for students set out in quality standards

23 Employer engagement and support
Regional employer survey - employers willing to engage and establish partnerships, e.g. 67% willing to engage through internships, mentoring, guest speaking and offering lectures But only 35% believe that the private sector has successfully communicated its expectations to the education system (Source: Arab Human Capital Challenge: The voice of CEOs, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, 2008) ‘I’d be happy to offer work placements . Yes, I would welcome this – it would be for mutual benefit.’ (Employer, Kuwait) ‘I’d welcome field trips but I’ve never been approached.’ (Employer, Bahrain) Everyone wants there to be partnerships. They offer benefits for employers, institutions and students.’ (Libya)

24 Challenges Lack of representation / coordinating bodies:
‘We wish to have people coming from the higher education institutions, from the Chamber of Commerce, people who represent companies, regardless what the company does, for them to then sit down and discuss our needs and concerns with the Ministry. ‘ (Saudi Arabia) ‘We should have a stronger voice with the institutes, tell them what we need. Perhaps if there was collective committee or an organising body, to have a better word, a better voice, forums... these are the common challenges that we have and maybe putting on a little pressure to say that’s what we need.’ (UAE)

25 Challenges Over-centralisalisation: ‘Everything is centralised in the Ministry and the professional environment has a limited contribution at this level’ (Tunisia) Culture: ‘We have to develop a connection between the university and employers but in Egypt, universities are a bit afraid of employers and vice versa.’ Lack of resources: ‘The University must be proactive in establishing relationships with employers. Currently those links are not strong but I think once our careers centre is up and running, employer links can be established.’ (Egypt)

26 What’s new or interesting?
Chambers of commerce represented on university boards (Morocco) Representative bodies: ‘As a federation, we try to identify the needs of companies because they can’t do this if they are isolated. (Tunisia) Quality assurance standards re employer engagement (UAE) Snowball effect of engagement ‘One institution approached us to sit on their programme advisory committee meetings; so we started to do that and then we saw other opportunities to work together.’ ‘It’s all related; when I meet with employers about work experience, everything else comes up.’ ‘The internship has been a great way for developing a network of organisations.’

27 What’s new or interesting?
Quality assurance standards cross-referenced to NQF (Saudi Arabia) Credit-bearing stand-alone courses focusing on specific skills, e.g. critical thinking or creative problem solving Employability skills (or graduate attributes) embedded in all curricula and ongoing employer consultation; outcome-based; pre- and post-moderation of assessment; supported reflective learning process for students to identify, develop and learn to articulate their skills (Bahrain and UAE) Entrepreneurship embedded in the curriculum (Egypt)

28 What’s new or interesting?
Developing a network of employers: ‘Initially we started by just sitting down and identifying who we’d like to start with based on majors and sectors. Business and IT employers are obvious, but for the applied arts, students have been a huge source. Faculty too. Everybody in this university is a source. I’m talking students, staff, faculty, employers.’ Best practice guidelines in quality assurance standards (UAE) Job shadowing (UAE) More common in Gulf – smaller populations of students, more buoyant private sector, localisation North Africa - students aware of the constraints, especially numbers of students, but across NA, students felt strongly that it should be the responsibility of their institutions to arrange and supervise work placements.

29 What’s new or interesting?
Compulsory credit-bearing module for personal development within the curriculum: must include some combination of extracurricular activities, charity work and community engagement (Bahrain) Extracurricular section added to students’ academic transcripts (UAE) Short-term contract with an employer who requiring part-time paid work in evenings and weekends: also provides on-the-job training (Morocco) Part-time on-campus employment: ‘5 hours a week paid work - the library, help desks, finance - every area is being looked at. Internal departments send the careers office a vacancy list; we post it, students apply, the departments interview everyone. The goal is to have students working for one semester.’ (UAE)

30 Career Development Learning
Students reported inadequate levels of career development learning during formal education. Many commented that they lack long-term goals, a view shared by many employers and institutional respondents. They want more guidance, especially regarding the prospects and labour market demand of different study options. And also support developing job searching skills. Tests administered with Grade 12 students resulted in an average score of 4.7 out of 25 in future planning skills (Arab Knowledge Report) I usually ask them in the first class why they’ve chosen the course. Believe me, only one in ten says because they want to be an accountant. The others usually say that it wasn’t their real choice and they were oriented by their exam results or because it was the only choice left. They let things go by. They say, “Let’s get the diploma and then let fate decide for us”. (Institutional respondent, Tunisia)

31 Experiential learning – work placements
Structured work experience positively influences a graduate’s chances of getting a graduate-level job (UK research) MENA students see value: gain experience, develop technical skills, employability skills and build self-confidence. ‘For me, yes it was very useful. I developed the required skills and got some experience. I also learned patience and how to be more responsible.’ (Male student, Saudi Arabia) ‘Universities should provide job placements before students start their working life, but that does not happen.’ (Male, Cairo, Egypt) More common in Gulf Challenges – huge numbers of students in some countries, big informal sector & large SME sector that does not have capacity or legal status, lack of institutional resources, models? ‘It doubled my chances to get a job as I now have an experience letter from the bank.’ (Female student, UAE)

32 What’s new or interesting?
Setting up careers services in higher and vocational education institutions Employers are visiting schools and tertiary institutions to raise awareness of their sectors: ‘Du came to the college, and explained what skills they require and need in the company. Why don’t other companies do the same, and tell us what they need?’ Institutions are providing job searching skills training through special elective courses that earn credit, or through career centres: ‘We provide interview training for students and alumni - for students to be asked questions about themselves - they’re not used to that in this culture, and so that’s a big area of intervention.’ Some institutions are introducing compulsory first year courses to support students with choices about their major and future career

33 Advancing the graduate employability agenda
Use of regulation and policy to embed best practice in developing employability – quality assurance standards, national agencies to support initiatives, e.g. work placements Creating national or regional working groups – with student and/or employer representation to focus on research and development of specific themes, e.g. embedding employability skills into the curriculum, reflective practice and Arab students Platforms to share best practice from around the region Developing institutional employability strategies Development of CAG service that will engage young people, educators, government bodies and employers to ensure that young people: 1. Right education choices 2. Right carer choices 3. Realistic expectations 4. Focus on developing the right skills for the world of work 5.

34 Best practice ‘The responsibility for developing students’ employability is done almost by osmosis. It’s a natural by-product of deciding on having an outcomes learning mode; on deciding the global outcomes; on deciding that you embed them and integrate them into the curricula and then making sure that you have programs and services where they can be tested and applied; on deciding that you have a full time, final internship program; on deciding that the internship program must have faculty involvement - it’s not just letting the careers office do it and faculty can focus on what we do best. The whole push was, as faculty, you should be linked to the community - you should have an awareness of the employment market, because that’s the reason why this place exists. So, it’s everything!’ (Institutional respondent, UAE) 34

35 Thank you Melanie Relton Regional Manager Vocational Education Middle East, North Africa British Council, 35

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