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Off the beaten path: Vocational trainees find their niche

By Maram Kayed - Jan 08,2020 - Last updated at Jan 08,2020

The Vocational Training Corporation delivers 19 diverse training programmes including training in hospitality and tourism, construction, agriculture and renewable energy (Photo courtesy of the Vocational Training Corporation)

AMMAN — Ahmad Awakleh is one of many who have chosen to pursue vocational training rather than a traditional path into higher education. 

After graduating from the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC), he set up a small air conditioning maintenance shop in Mafraq, some 80km northeast of Amman.

“This little shop saved my life, my family’s life, and the lives of my four employees and their families as well,” said Ahmad, who is one of 11,419 graduates from the VTC.

“Although many of my colleagues and I at the corporation have finished Tawjihi [general secondary education certificate examination], many of us do not have the luxury of studying for four years or more before working, especially given the current economic situation,” he said.

The majority of VTC students had also undertaken the vocational training stream in Tawjihi, and the VTC training acts as an extension of that training, Awakleh told The Jordan Times over the phone.

The VTC has three strands of training throughout its 43 institutes across the Kingdom: On-the-job training at production and service institutions, theory training at VTC institutes and the dual system, which combines the two tracks.

Operating in four regional directorates — the North, the Middle, the South and the Jordan Valley — the VTC’s budget for 2018 reached to more than JD14 million, according to its latest report, which was made available to The Jordan Times.

The VTC delivers 19 diverse training programmes including training in hospitality and tourism, construction, agriculture and renewable energy.

“I never thought I would do anything with my life after having failed Tawjihi four times and having my spirit torn apart by family members and friends who thought my only choice was to get married and be a housewife,” said Farah Rawashdeh, a VTC graduate.

Rawashdeh, who now works as a chef at a Jerash restaurant, some 45 kilometres north of Amman, graduated from the corporation in 2018.

She told The Jordan Times over the phone that she has “turned cooking, a passion, into a profession, thanks to the VTC’s support and training”.

According to the VTC report, the corporation also works with neighbouring Arab countries due to as it “provides vocational training services with the aim to promote joint Arab action and activate partnership with Arab countries”.

Several agreements have been signed with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Oman, Kingdom of Bahrain, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen and Kuwait, the report noted.

The number of trainees registered from January 1, 2018 until December 31, 2018 stood at 14,119, the report said, adding that the number of trainees who enrolled prior to 2018 was 9,531.

Alongside their regular training programmes, the corporation recently launched the “Empowering the Participation of Women” project to “stress the importance of the economic participation and influence of women in different fields”, according to a project agenda made available to The Jordan Times.

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