Employability

Silatech seeks to help young Arabs make successful transitions to the world of work through improved career guidance, skills development, and direct linkages with existing employment opportunities.

We are not in the business of direct job creation; rather, we serve as a key connection point providing young people with access to work, work experience and skills development opportunities. We do this through a combination of innovative technological platforms, as well as through capacity building of local organizations.

Silatech’s youth employability strategy consists of key stages of the transition to employment:

  • Career Centers
  • Youth Portals
  • Career Guidance
  • Skills Development
  • Work Experience

  • Silatech Connections in the Transition of Youth to Work



    Career Centers

    There are a myriad of resources already available to help young Arabs successfully transition to the world of work – whether they are public initiatives, corporate programs or youth NGOs. However, the young person on the street trying to navigate the world of work inevitably feels alone, guided only by family and friends.

    Silatech aims to create one-stop shops that aggregate resources from local, regional and international partners, and provide guidance, support and signposting to youth in one place. Career and Entrepreneurship centers will operate in universities, schools, community-based organizations, public agencies, or even as independent social enterprises in their own right. Silatech partners with local institutions for both capacity building and technical support. Within Qatar, Silatech partnered with Qatar Development Bank to create the Bedaya Center - a hub for youth employability and entrepreneurship services in the country. We also support centers in Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Tunisia and Morocco through partnerships with public, private or civil society partners.

    Web and Mobile Portals

    Physical centers are limited in their reach and ability to scale. We believe that access to employability resources and information is a right of every youth in the Arab world – and that technology can help us provide this access directly and in a cost effective manner. We have therefore partnered with major IT and telecom players such as Microsoft and the Ooredoo Group to create large scale web and mobile portals designed to support youth employment.

    In April 2012, Silatech and Microsoft launched Ta3mal.com, the region’s first employability portal linking youth to career guidance, training, eLearning, work readiness and internship and job opportunities. Originating in Egypt as Masrworks.com, Ta3mal.com now has specialized country portals developed for Egypt, Qatar, Iraq and Tunisia, with plans underway for Morocco, Palestine, Algeria and Jordan.

    While online penetration is high in the GCC, ITU indicators show that less than 30% of Arabs in non GCC countries are online. However, with over 70% mobile penetration, the most basic GSM phone has become our most inclusive entry point. Our first mobile portal – Najja7ni, was launched in March 2013 in Tunisia, and the model is being extended across the region.

    Career Guidance

    One key service provided by career centers and portals is personalized guidance through our Tamheed platform, developed in partnership with UK based Mindmill. Through our pilot programs in 2009-2010, we discovered four main challenges to providing large scale access to quality career guidance for youth across the region: personalization of advice, availability of trained counselors (advisors), sustainability, and quality.

    First launched in 2011, Tamheed is Silatech’s career guidance program; it includes online psychometric and language assessments, a career advising framework, and training and capacity building for career advisors. Youth workers can be trained to become Tamheed advisors in less than a week, creating a large pool of certified advisors offering personalized advice based on scientific reports.

    Since its launch, Tamheed has been used by thousands of young people across Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Tunisia and Qatar. A range of activities are now under way to expand Tamheed both in scale and in the depth of support it provides youth and advisors.

    Skills Development

    Tamheed advising sessions help young people become aware of their own potential and interests. However, they often still need skills, experience, guidance and networks to transform this vision into a reality.

    Our skills development initiatives are designed to empower youth as they develop the technical and soft-skills needed for employment. Like career guidance, skill development interventions are offered through career centers, vocational colleges or virtual employability portals. We support Youth Serving Organizations (YSOs) with curricula and capacity building, and offer direct eLearning for workforce development skills to youth through the Ta3mal portal.

    Work Experience and Jobs

    The gap between education and employment cannot be bridged without real work experience. There is high correlation between work experience provision and placement success across workforce development initiatives; however, access to work experience opportunities remains a challenge for most youth.

    This is a key strategic priority for Silatech, and we are bringing innovation and technology to this complex issue through new pilots. Virtual Work Experience combines virtual freelance work with internships, enabling companies to offer projects on virtual marketplaces that students can complete for work experience, with the support of mentor-practitioners. We are also connecting young interns to start-ups through the Ta3mal internship program, with the aim of preparing youth for both jobs and self-employment.

    Projects

    Project Name: Tamheed

    Inception date: September 2010

    Current status: Launched April 2011. As of March 2014, close to 300 advisors are delivering services in 88 centers.

    Expected outcomes: 115 centers providing career advice to 14,000+ young people by mid-2014

    Regional Partner(s): Mindmill, Bright Language

    Country Partner(s): Microsoft, Ministry of Youth, Nahdet El Mahrousa (Egypt); Bedaya Center, Qatar University, College of the North Atlantic, Community College of Qatar (Qatar); Edupartage (Tunisia); Anapec (Morocco); International Youth Foundation (Palestine); World Learning (Algeria); Glowork (Saudi Arabia); Tamweelcom (Jordan)

    Countries covered: Qatar, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Regional

    Tamheed delivers quality career advice and placement support services to be available scale. It provides youth-serving organizations (YSOs) with a complete toolkit for setting up a sustainable career advising practice. This includes highly predictive and user-friendly psychometric assessments from UK-based Mindmill delivered online in Arabic, English and French, the results of which can be used for both advice guidance and screening; advisor training and automated reports; language assessments from Bright Language; and, a framework for career advising that creates an action plan towards career success. Tamheed career guidance services are provided in physical career centers, as well as online. Tamheed is also integrated into Silatech’s and Microsoft's online employability portals ta3mal.com). Tamheed’s psychometric assessments are also used by employers and training institutions to support the screening and selection of candidates, helping match candidates with the best-fit opportunities.


    Project Name: Ta3mal

    Inception date: April 2012

    Current status: Launched in April 2012 as Masrworks.com in Egypt. As of March 2014, the portal had over 61,000 registered users across the region.

    Expected outcomes: 250,000 young people registered and accessing employability support by end of April 2015

    Regional Partner(s): Microsoft

    Country Partner(s): Bedaya Center (Qatar), Microsoft (Egypt), Edupartage (Tunisia), Foras (Iraq), World Learning (Algeria)

    Countries covered: Regional; specialized portals for Egypt, Qatar, Iraq, Algeria and Tunisia

    Description: The region's first employability portal, Ta3mal helps Arab youth and job seekers find support to transition into the world of work. Ta3mal is available in Arabic, English and French, and provides resources ranging from online career guidance, e-learning, employability and entrepreneurship training, to specific work experience and job opportunities. Local partners provide specialized content and access to services appropriate for selected countries.

    In coming years, Silatech and Microsoft will launch Ta3mal in additional countries, bringing together the diverse range of interventions and support available through public, private and civil society initiatives.


    Project Name: MobiWorks

    Inception date: January 2012

    Current status: Launched in Tunisia in March 2013 as “Najja7ni”

    Expected outcomes: Connect 300,000 young people in Tunisia with opportunities and resources by end of 2013

    Partner(s): Tunisiana, Ooredoo, ProInvest, Edupartage

    Countries covered: Tunisia initially, with potential for regional scale-up

    Description: MobiWorks is a mobile portal that connects young people without Internet access to employability resources, financial inclusion and job opportunities via a basic GSM mobile phone. Offered in partnership with Ooredoo, the portal aggregates opportunities from various youth serving organizations and enables young people to connect with them.


    Project Name: Emergency Support to Young Rural Tunisians

    Inception date: May 2012

    Current status: Implementation beginning in late 2012

    Expected outcomes: 3,000 young people connected with training, internships and microfinance

    Partner(s): World Bank, Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF), Tunisiana

    Countries covered: Tunisia

    Description: Program will provide emergency income support and short-term employment opportunities to approximately 3,000 youth (18-34) to help them meet basic needs through cash-for-work, training, internship and self-employment. Silatech and Tunisiana are supporting the mobile components of the project, ensuring that this support is provided inclusively and transparently through outreach and M&E. JSDF Emergency Window has provided funding for the project.


    Project Name: Anapec Capacity Building

    Inception date: May 2011

    Current status: Ongoing

    Expected outcomes: Career guidance and placement support to 5000 young people by mid-2014

    Partner(s): Anapec, Mindmill, Bright Language

    Countries covered: Morocco

    Description: Silatech is helping Morocco's public sector employment agency, Anapec, provide unemployed Moroccan youth with training and job opportunities. Through its Tamheed initiative, Silatech has helped Anapec develop screening processes for candidates and provided tools and training for language, psychometric and aptitude assessments.


    Project Name: Emploi Habilite

    Inception date: May 2010

    Current status: Initial pilot completed; scale-up launched in mid-2013

    Expected outcomes: In pilot, 400 young people from disadvantaged communities trained and connected to jobs in the hospitality sector. Scale up embeds the model within public sector institutions to create long-term sustainability with a target of 900 young people over two years.

    Partner(s): IYF, Ministry of Tourism

    Countries covered: Morocco

    Description: Program aims to equip disadvantaged youth in Morocco with technical and life skills and place them in tourism sector jobs. Implemented in Tetouan/Tangiers by the Sedraoui Foundation, and in Casablanca by CFA Jaber Ibnou Hayane. 98 Employers have participated in the program, offering internships and job opportunities to trained youth. Scale up will build public sector capacity to offer training, reducing costs and enabling sustainability.


    Project Name: Yemen Construction Skills

    Inception date: September 2009

    Current status: Pilot complete, scale up on hold since April 2011

    Expected outcomes: Create a model for delivering training, qualifications and long-term employability to young Yemenis in the construction sector in a sustainable and effective manner meeting international standards

    Partner(s): Ministry of TEVT Yemen, Sana'a Community College, Qatari Diar, Consolidated Contractors Company-Yemen, Shibam Holdings

    Countries covered: Yemen

    Description: The program established a SilaQual accredited construction skills training center at Sana'a Community College, with 13 qualified public sector trainers who trained 1500 Yemeni youth over the program duration. The training center became self-sustaining within 6 months, and employers and trainees paid for training and qualifications offered to international standards. The program has been hailed as one of the few sustainable and scalable models for workforce development, successfully bridging the gap between public and private sector, and has led to the creation of an ethical manpower company to provide quality jobs to qualified workers.