A restricted job market and a limited educational infrastructure make up for a challenging panorama for Palestinian young graduates, who often find themselves unprepared to land a job. How to address these challenges? What kind of educational programs can be created? Six HQSF graduate students give us the answers.
“As a computer engineer, I would love it if there was some connection between the job market and the universities,” says Jihad Basem. “Even though some programs already provide training opportunities, we would need a specific program to connect universities with the market, so that students have the required market experience once graduated,” he says.
Fellow engineer Derar Muallah agrees: “Most of the companies require experience for the incoming employees, so it would be useful to have training programs for the fresh graduates according to their fields to get them involved in the practice.” Muallah thinks that provided there are awareness programs prior to university for students to learn the job market needs, young applicants could make a wiser decision. Hi colleage Lana Judeh specifies: “we need vocational programs specifically in agriculture, agro-Industrial technology, and clinical pharmacology, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), and artificial limb program.”
“Unfortunately, there are very limited job opportunities for Palestinians while there are massive numbers of graduates that don’t find placement”, says HQSF alumni Amal Shanty. The young graduate, who now works as a TVET project coordinator in Gaza, thinks capacity building and training on soft skills should be the focus. “Students need to learn communication skills for job interviews, tutorials on how to write a CV, teamwork, and leadership skills,” she explains.
Other areas that need specific support, she considers, are entrepreneurship programs to empower students to start their own business and market themselves, as well as innovation and online working.
On the other hand, Akram Dweikat and Lana Hijazi agree that keeping graduates updated in their field is essential. “I would like to see bridging programs like internships and more graduate level entry programs,” Dweikat says.
To read more articles about education in Palestine and to be inspired by Palestinian students who are striving to improve their futures, visit the Hani Qaddumi Scholarship Foundation official website.