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Turkey funds job training for Syrian youth

The Turkish government and the local council in Marea, a town in the northern countryside of Aleppo, have opened a training center to help young people find work.

ALEPPO — Marea’s local council in the opposition-controlled Euphrates Shield area in the northern countryside of Aleppo has started a training program to help young men and women find employment opportunities in various fields. The project, announced Aug. 16, enjoys the support of the nongovernmental organization Orange and the Turkish Ministry of Education.

Trainers program will be provided by Orange as well as the local council’s education center in Marea. They are to be paid by Orange. 

Registration for the free training courses ran Aug. 16-28 at the headquarters of the Marea local council’s education center. The training officially started at the same location on Sept. 2. Courses in solar panel installation, management skills and graphic design were the first to start, and other courses will begin in the coming days.

Local councils in the Euphrates Shield area opened education centers in early July with the support of the Turkish government. Similar education centers also exist in Turkey. Ankara wishes to do the same in the Euphrates Shield area, where it has major influence, to fight unemployment and provide trained staff. Services provided by Turkish-supported local councils have already improved significantly in the area.

Most of the trainees, 100 women and 75 men, have not finished high school.

Head of Marea local council’s education center Assem al-Saleh told Al-Monitor that the training program includes 48-day courses in graphic design, operating heavy machinery and management as well as 24-day courses in solar panel installation, pastry making and sewing.

Saleh added, “The training courses will be divided into a section for women and another for men. Women will receive training courses in sewing and pastry making, while the remaining fields will be restricted to men. Those wishing to participate need to meet certain criteria. They need to reside in Marea, whether they are locals or displaced persons from other Syrian areas. They need to be between the ages of 18 and 35 and have not participated in other training courses over the past year.”

Saleh noted, “The training project came to light thanks to cooperation between our education center, Orange and Kilis’ education directorate. The project aims to empower unemployed youth and qualify them to find work. The trainees will be issued a certificate by Kilis’ education directorate.”

He pointed out, “Four hours of training will be provided every day for the various programs and regular attendees will be granted transportation fees. Orange will grant top-ranking trainees proper equipment for each profession.”

Head of Qabasin’s education center Amer Maamo told Al-Monitor, “The goal of establishing education centers is to rehabilitate young men and women who have not been able to continue their education due to the ongoing war and displacement. The centers will provide them with an opportunity to make their way into the labor market and escape unemployment through these training courses.”

Al-Monitor visited Marea’s education center, which is located near the court building in the city’s northern district, in prefabricated halls provided by Turkey.

Sewing instructor Nisreen Mohammed told Al-Monitor, “I offer my expertise to women wishing to learn how to sew. I have 25 women in my class. Some are married, others are single, but all of them want to learn and work so they can help support their families.”

Mahmoud Safi, 24, who is attending the solar panel installation training course in Marea, told Al-Monitor, “I think this is an excellent profession and I believe I will find a good job once I’m done with the training because many residents in the area are looking to install solar panels to get electricity.”

Safi is currently unemployed. He used to work in agriculture but it is no longer enough to support his family and he needs to acquire new skills, he said.

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