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Youth unemployment and the skills gap are two common global issues that lead to a lack of economic growth. Jordan is no exception. There is a clear need to bridge the gap between the numbers of graduates and their rate of employment in technical fields, especially.

In a project driven by Al Hussein Technical University (HTU) and in partnership with the British Council, Semta conducted scoping visits in January 2018 to discuss the development and delivery of the university’s apprenticeship framework for its Level 4 and Level 5 Technical Degree, starting with Mechanical Engineering.

The British Council’s Leadership Exchange Programme (LEP) is outlined on their website as “an opportunity for leaders and senior managers from Training and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions overseas to interact with their UK counterparts. The LEP aims to facilitate learning, the sharing of knowledge, ideas and best practice between the two countries. Through this programme, leaders will be empowered to be more critical, and innovative around the holistic management and future development of their institutions.”

The UK is seen as having the best offerings and implementation in terms of vocational training. As a key organisation with unrivalled experience in providing a full range of skills related services, Semta was asked to initially report on UK apprenticeship programmes and how employers make use of this type of training, highlighting the dual benefits for employers and apprentices. 

Working with HTU, employers themselves and in partnership with the British Council, Semta presented three different options of apprenticeship programmes in order to offer the most bespoke product possible, instead of merely an existing UK course. From here, one was selected and a five-week pilot programme was developed and implemented, involving a small number of students and employers. 

This was an in-depth and detailed process that involved designing, monitoring, assessing, analysing, and getting employers engaged. It addressed changing the mindset of some employers, demonstrating that apprenticeships are a very practical and useful resource and not a drain on company finances and time. 

Through the successful launch of the pilot and the long-term relationships we have created along the way, there is now a much more up-to-date understanding of current industrial practices. The frameworks and pathway are now in place for graduates to acquire the employability skills to be able to implement the knowledge they gained at university. 

Moving forward, Semta will be continuing their work alongside the British Council to further develop UK and Jordanian education networks, create a system resource flow between universities and the industry, and enhance employer engagement opportunities via training and assessment. This will establish a more industry-led curriculum, accompanied by a full eight-month apprenticeship programme, which is due to launch in October 2019. We will also be assisting in addressing issues such as changes in the labour law, which will mean apprentices have to be paid a minimum and mentors will be of a certain standard. 

HTU is very much ahead of the curve in offering apprenticeship-style training in Jordan and we are very excited at Semta to be embarking on this project with both them and the British Council. 

‘We are delighted to be working with the British Council Jordan to support Al Hussein Technical University (HTU) to implement a programme which will bridge the gap between academia and the Jordanian labour market. With Semta and the British Councils support we are confident that HTU will develop Jordan’s first Mechanical and Electrical Apprenticeship Framework which has been developed with and led by employers to ensure that there is a skilled workforce which will support local economy in the future and provide students with the hands-on practical skills they need to enter into the workplace.’
Nicola Dolan

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