Breaking the Pattern of Youth Unemployment through Training and Apprenticeship
Recent figures from the United Nation show that the Middle East and North Africa continue to have the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world. What’s more, this situation is not expected to change anytime soon, according to “Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013,” issued by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
In MENA, one in four economically active young people are unemployed, and what makes this situation all the more urgent is that 30% of the Middle East and North Africa’s population is between the ages of 15 and 29.
Part of the problem is a mismatch between education and labor market requirements, according to the ILO report. In North Africa, this produces the unusual outcome whereby those with tertiary degrees are more likely to be unemployed than those with primary or secondary education.
According to the report, in MENA – as in other regions of the world – part of the problem is a vicious cycle, whereby young people are not being hired because they lack experience, but can’t gain experience because they aren’t being hired. The report highlights the successful apprenticeship system in Europe, which has resulted in a low level of youth unemployment.
GE works on this issue by committing more than $1 billion every year to programs around the world that support skills and leadership training and development. Here in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, GE has been contributing to the development of human capital for decades. It operates a number of training and leadership development programs, including many that provide direct workplace experience to young people.
One of these is the Financial Management Program (FMP), which is often the first step in a successful career at GE. The most famous example of this is GE Vice Chairman John Rice, who began his career in the program.
The program selects high-potential men and women seeking an exciting, challenging and fast-paced career in finance. This intensive two-year program is a career accelerator and consists of four six-month rotations that give participants experience in many areas of finance at GE, such as commercial finance, controllership, auditing, financial planning and manufacturing finance.
Assignment locations span the region and can take participants elsewhere around the world as well. Successful participants enjoy significant responsibilities and opportunities to contribute to GE’s business.
To learn more about the program, click here to watch a video featuring participants talking about their experiences. For more on GE’s training and human-capital building activities in the MENAT region, click here.