The ILO’s Skills Academy Lebanon, launched in December 2020, has completed a series of training courses bringing together 174 TVET stakeholders and partners from 35 organizations, including representatives of government institutions in the ministries of Education and Higher Education, Agriculture, and Labour, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers, TVET institutions, NGOs active in the sector and UN agencies.
Organised in partnership with the ILO’s International Training Centre (ITC-ILO) and with support from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, UNICEF and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the courses aimed at strengthening the capacities of stakeholders in Lebanon’s TVET sector through a customised, on-line training package, to improve the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of skills development systems, policies and related programmes in Lebanon, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and socio-economic challenges in the country.
“As a vocational education and training institution, we are very interested in developing more reliable programmes and TVET specialisations in line with labour market needs,” said Ziad El Saneh, principal of Tekrit Vocational Institute in Lebanon. “We are going to invest the gained knowledge into better collaboration with the private sector, key stakeholders and the labour force, not only to fight unemployment but also to achieve community development, especially at these hard times Lebanon is going through,” El Saneh said.
In addition to strengthening technical knowledge and skills, the Skills Academy also provided an opportunity for participants involved in skills development to work collaboratively and exchange experiences.
“The team and tutors were very supportive and encouraged us to collaborate and share information between each other. It was a great experience” – said Lina Sadek, head of the Lebanese Labour Migration Department at the National Employment Office, who attended training programmes.
“Everything we have achieved in these courses will be of a great importance in understanding our role and the positive impact we can have on the labour market and economy in Lebanon, through strengthened skills, dialogue and partnerships,” said Roudayna Merhe from Women’s Committee of the General Labour Union in Lebanon who participated in several training courses as part of Skills Academy Lebanon.
The Academy consisted of seven courses: the introductory course - “Systemic approach to skills development”, and six thematic courses focusing on: skills anticipation and matching; quality apprenticeship and engaging social partners in skills development; career guidance and employment services; e-Lab on digital TVET; management of vocational training centres; and sectoral approaches to skills development. These courses were based on training needs assessment of participants (including past training and experience in skills development, e-learning familiarity, and expected technical competencies to be learned) and included COVID-19 pandemic response to address recent challenges and developments in the areas of TVET and skills development in Lebanon.
A total of 75 participants (61 per cent women) completed training across the seven courses, resulting in issuing a total of 205 certificates of participation. The courses included asynchronous activities such as assignments and forum messages, in addition to synchronous activities such as webinars (36 in total), with tutors including experts from the European Training Foundation, GIZ, Global Apprenticeship Network and ILO, among others. Furthermore, participants were also invited to develop a capstone project – a written assignment in which participants could present practical solutions to specific skills development challenges they experienced in professional context to improve institutional arrangements, projects or programmes and, therefore, support sustainable interventions in the country. Those participants who successfully complete this capstone project assignment will receive certificates of achievement stating the developed competencies.
After completion of the online training package, the ILO also offered three tailor-made coaching and mentoring sessions. The main objective of these activities was to provide further technical support and refine competencies in deeper topics and areas of skills development to address the individual and institutional needs and challenges of participants.
With the multifaceted crisis facing Lebanon, skills development and developing the capacity of key stakeholders can play an important role in the national recovery and accelerate the transition to a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient economy. Intensive investment in education and skills training and expanded partnerships between employers, policy-makers and training providers are crucial for building the resilience of workers and businesses as they prepare to recover from the economic and labour market impact of the crisis.