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Islam's story

From insecurity to independence - Read about how an internship supported by Denmark's partner Oxfam IBIS helps young people excel into the labor market in Jordan.

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It is not easy for a recent graduate like me to find a job without previous work experience, especially not when so many people lose their jobs due to the pandemic

Islam Abdelqader, intern PHOTO: RAJIV RAMAN 

Like many other graduates, Islam hoped to find her dream job in the field of her studies, but this can be a difficult task for a young woman in Jordan with no previous work experience. The 22-year-old, who has a bachelor's degree in medical laboratory science, graduated with a lingering anxiety of what the future would bring.


"I was very optimistic about reaching the goal of my academic journey, but at the same time I was very worried about not being able to find a job and practice what I have learned," she says.

The concern of Islam was real. During first quarter of 2020 youth unemployment in Jordan reached 48 percent. This trend, which increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, has made Islam even more anxious about her future.

"It is not easy for a recent graduate like me to find a job without previous work experience, especially not when so many people lose their jobs due to the pandemic," Islam explains.

“I started looking for volunteer work in different laboratories and places, with a hope of finding a place that would let me work without pay. None of these sites were able to employ more people, including trainees and volunteers, due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

To address the growing challenges that graduates like Islam face as they try to gain a foothold in the labor market, INJAZ, one of Oxfam IBIS' partners in Jordan, is working to address the unemployment gap among young men and women across the country, through “Participation and employment for young people "(YPE), which is partly supported by the Danish Arab Partnership Program (DAPP).

Through the YPE program, INJAZ offers various pathways to employment, including paid internships for young participants in some of Jordan's governorates, including Tafileh, Karak, Balqa and Madaba. Such programs enable young people to improve and develop their life skills, technical expertise and employment skills, and improve their chances of entering the labor market.

Islam Abdelqader, intern. Photo: Rajiv Raman

Islam was one of 5,000 participants who participated in the program and who received training for job readiness. More than 100 of these young job-seekers were selected through interviews to participate in a paid internship, Islam was one of them.

“I did not expect to be selected as there were so many applicants. I was really happy when I heard that and I am very proud to be enrolled in the program,” Islam says.

These internships offered young participants three months' work experience in the private sector and in civil society organizations with which INJAZ collaborates.

“After my training, I was selected to work as a laboratory intern at the Noor al-Hussein Foundation. It is an excellent experience that will enable me to work at other institutions in the future,” she explains.

However, Islam does not feel that a three-month internship is sufficient for recent graduates to be equipped for the competitive Jordanian job market.


“I wish the internship lasted longer. If the course lasted a year, for example, then the chance of getting a job afterwards would be higher, I would have the opportunity to gain more practical experience and get to know more people. ”

Supporting and expanding employment programs for young people, including internships aimed at equipping young people with the right skills for the job market, makes a world of difference for young people, including the particularly vulnerable and refugees. They enhance their chances of accessing significant employment opportunities and enable them to engage with their communities.

For Islam, this opportunity can be life-changing as it can help her find a job in the future that lives up to her aspirations; "It's a wonderful feeling to have a job and be self-sufficient, independent and responsible."

* Department of Statistics, December 2020:

Made by: Aisha Shtiwi

This article was prepared by Oxfam Jordan. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not take responsibility for the content of the article.