Given its location and scarce natural resources, Jordan’s economy has been significantly impacted by geopolitical developments in the region, the global financial crises, and expensive energy. Consequently, Jordan’s economic growth has slowed and this has resulted in high unemployment - especially amongst its youth. These conditions present considerable challenges to the advancement of Jordan’s economy, its private sector, and its workforce.
One area of opportunity for workforce development is in the vocational and technical sector. Challenges in this sector are: a mismatch between supply and demand in the labor market, a lack of work-readiness and employability skills, negative perceptions and attitudes towards vocational and technical employment, and unsuitable working environments.
In order to address these economic challenges, the Government of Jordan (GoJ) introduced a number of national initiatives on employment with a focus on the vocational and technical sector (E-TVET). First, the government launched the National Agenda in 2006 which established and operationalized the E-TVET Council, the E-TVET Council Secretariat, the development of the Centre for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (CAQA), and included significant reform of the Vocational and Technical Corporation, and set up the E-TVET Fund. Further, the government also launched a National Employment Strategy (2011-2020) as well as two consecutive National E-TVET Strategies 2008-2013 and 2014-2020 which, in turn, outline priorities and recommendations for developing the vocational and technical sector in Jordan. In early 2015, both HM King Abdullah II and the U.S. Ambassador to Jordan publicly supported these efforts calling for Jordan to prioritize the productive employment of its people.
To support these initiatives, USAID-funded Jordan WFD Project was launched in October 2014 to help Jordan’s public and private sectors in creating a demand-driven, competitive, and inclusive workforce development system. The project will focus on women, youth, and those living at or below the poverty line, and has six target governorates across Jordan including; East Amman, Zarqa, Irbid, Tafileh, Ma’an and Aqaba.
The project collaborates closely with the Government of Jordan (primarily through the Ministry of Labor (MoL) and the TVET entities amongst other relevant ministries), Jordan’s private sector including Chambers of Industry and Commerce across the country, and NGOs working in the TVET arena.