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Training offers young Jordanians glimpse of job opportunities in tourism, hospitality

By Muath Freij - Mar 03,2014 - Last updated at Mar 03,2014

AMMAN — After Alaa Dajani passed the General Secondary Certificate Examination, he decided to stop studying and look for a decent job unlike many of his peers who went on to seek higher education. 

He was willing to work in any field except the hospitality and tourism sector, believing that he would be too embarrassed to deal with customers. 

However, Dajani’s opinion completely changed when he took part in a training programme for young people to show them job opportunities in the tourism sector. 

“After I learned how beneficial working at hotels can be, I am thinking of studying hotel management when my training ends,” he told The Jordan Times. 

Dajani is one of several young Jordanians who are benefiting from training programmes provided by an advisory committee for the hospitality and tourism sector. 

Waleed Tarawneh, the country director of Global Communities (GC), said the GC launched this training initiative in cooperation with several private sector representatives. 

“We chose the tourism sector because it is one of the sectors that needs the most employees,” he told The Jordan Times after the official launch of the advisory committee on Monday.

Tarawneh said the panel had been working for months before the official launch.

GC is an international nonprofit organisation that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable.

The tourism and hospitality training is part of its Middle East and North Africa Youth Empowerment Programme, which is aimed at enhancing the employability of young Jordanians by partnering with private sector organisations, according to a GC statement.

The tourism and hospitality sector committee seeks to involve trainees in the development of training materials that match their needs, highlight career path developments and reduce the culture of shame, the statement said.  

It consists of 12 members representing hotels, hospitals and restaurants, Tarawneh said at a press conference on Monday. 

“Hospitals are also part of the sector because of medical tourism,” he added. 

Despite contributing around 14 per cent to the gross domestic product, the tourism sector only employs 6 per cent of the country’s workforce, which is lower than the international rate of 15 per cent, according to official figures.

Tarawneh said the GC has also formed several committees for other sectors in partnership with private organisations, to determine the areas in need of training to enhance young people’s employability.

Around three training programmes were held for six months at several hotels, he noted. 

Badiaa Kiswani, another trainee, said she began her training 11 months ago. 

“We had a training camp for five days and then they sent us to several hotels. A great number of trainees went to five-star hotels. The training also included computer and English classes,” she told The Jordan Times.

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