UK aid to equip young Jordanians with skills for modern workforce

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The UK will equip young Jordanians with English language and job skills such as leadership, critical thinking, and problem solving, to help them better compete in the global economy, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt announced today (28 February).

With 68% of Jordanians being under 30 years old and 40% of those aged 15 to 24 unemployed, there is a risk of a generation of young people being locked out of up and coming sectors.

The UK has pledged to support Jordan’s plans to reform its economy and boost jobs for its young population.

Today’s package, announced in London at ‘Jordan: Growth and Opportunity, The London Initiative’, will support a series of programmes by the UK Government, through UK aid, and the British Council aimed at upskilling both Jordanians and Syrian refugees. This will help them to gain employment in growing sectors such as IT, renewable energy, logistics and tourism.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

Jordan is a country rich in human talent. But while much of its workforce is young and highly educated, many still lack the specific skills to work in booming sectors such as IT and renewable energy.

UK aid will provide young Jordanians with the essential skills needed to join the workforce, strengthen the economy and help their country become self-sufficient. This includes helping them to learn English, a powerful tool in the world of international business.

This is Global Britain at its best, using British expertise to pass on skills to Jordan’s workforce, making it an even more attractive place for British businesses to invest, and giving the UK a stronger, more prosperous ally in the Middle East.

The package demonstrates a cross-government approach to supporting Jordan with expertise and funding from a range of departments and institutions, including:

  • a DFID programme, Skills for Development which is still under design, will assist 200,000 young people to gain English and workplace skills, improve training for 6,000 English language teachers and increase access to English learning materials;

  • British Council projects to give marginalised communities access to English Language courses through community centres, launch an online learning platform to teach English for the workplace and provide 5,000 apprenticeships and internships to help young Jordanians enter the workplace;

  • build a partnership between the Prince’s Trust and Jordan’s Crown Prince Foundation;

  • further DFID support to UNICEF to address the urgent needs of children not enrolled in any kind of education, and improve the quality of education received; and

  • a new partnership between the Government of UK and Jordan, which will help drive up education standards, develop a strategy for better use of technology in schools, and help evaluate Jordan’s school inspections.

In her speech at the conference, the International Development Secretary will also acknowledge the tremendous generosity Jordan has shown by hosting 670,000 registered Syrian refugees, despite facing its own economic challenges. To help lessen the burden, and bolster international efforts, the UK will support 22,000 Syrian refugees by providing cash to buy food, clothes and other essentials.

Notes to editors

  • The UK is using its global leadership, expertise and influence to convene the Jordan: Growth & Opportunity conference in London on 28 February 2019. It will rally the international community and private sector to create an attractive environment for investment in Jordan, underpinned by reform.
  • Ensuring that Jordan is a beacon of stability in the Middle East, a gateway to trade in the region and a steadfast ally on the front line of conflict is a win for everyone, including the UK.
  • The Skills for Development programme will provide up to £25 million from the Department for International Development over five years to equip young people in Jordan with much needed English language and modern workplace skills such as critical thinking and problem solving.
  • The UNICEF uplift package will provide an extra £3.35 million to address the urgent needs of out of school children and improve the quality of education, supporting vulnerable Syrian and Jordanian young people.
  • The British Council will fund up to £250,000 for industry driven education and training for higher education and technical education as well as £400,000 in UK Aid towards helping marginalised and displaced young people access English language learning to improve their learning outcomes. This will include providing specially designed training and resources for 500 teachers and 40 community centre leaders. The British Council will also provide up to £80,000 for a series of 3 “Massive Open Online Courses” and an additional £16,000 in UK aid for content costs.
  • DFID will provide £50 million additional humanitarian support to Jordan over three years, the vast majority of which will support cash transfers to 22,000 Syrian refugees.
  • DFID has also allocated existing funding for Jordan that will train 10,000 vulnerable Jordanians and Syrian refugees in vocational skills to work in growing sectors such as ICT, renewable energy and tourism.
  • The Government of Jordan and UK education partnership brings together the Department for Education, Ofsted, the Department for International Development and the Department for International Trade as part of a new package of up to £6.48m of peer-to-peer support from the UK government, funded by the cross-government Conflict, Security and Stabilisation Fund (CSSF).
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