Iraqi ministry of labor and social affairs is now getting prepared to launch a training program for the unemployed that seeks to reinforce their skills and help them plan entrepreneurial projects.
The ministry's vocational training department is trying to improve its training schemes by adopting non-traditional programs such as the "al-Riyada" (Pioneering) program, which it plans to launch midyear, said the department's general director Aziz Ibrahim Khalil.
He claimed that this will help the unemployed labors to gain employment as well as the necessary employment. He added further, "The program teaches the unemployed how to plan well for their private projects, and conduct studies on economic feasibility, as well as identify the requirements to complete them to ensure their success and development, which would be of benefit for the owners and society in general."
This type of training is important as it enables people to benefit from the start-up loans and operational cash advances the ministry offers to small, income-generating projects, which can help people meet their daily needs, improve their standard of living and boost the process of national development and economic growth, Khalil said.
He added, "The department has worked to train thousands of people who have registered their names in the ministry's unemployment database, and from 2005 to date, has trained more than 130,000 unemployed persons at 36 vocational training centers in Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces."
Training for focusing on in-demand professions
Mr. Khalil noted, "The training programs focused on common professions which are in demand in the local market, such as auto repairs, electricity and sanitation installations, maintenance of electricity generators, welding, iron smiting, carpentry, tailoring, computer and mobile phone repairs, and other similar professions."
The training period differs according to the nature of each profession, he said, and admission into these programs is subject to a number of regulations and conditions. Applicants must be registered as unemployed by the department of employment and loans, be between the age of 15 and 50, and have at least an elementary level schooling certificate, he added.
He stated, "The vocational training department has partnerships with a number of international organizations and bodies which, using their training experiences and expertise, enhanced our capabilities and efforts, especially in rebuilding the abilities of the unemployed and enabling them to be self-reliant."
"The al-Riyada program is one of the world's modern, advanced programs whose objective is to build up the leadership characteristics of the small project owner," said training department deputy director Naseer Naji Hamdan.
The program helps participants form a general idea of the small projects they want to pursue by giving them experience and the opportunity to choose the most appropriate project, specify its location, study its infrastructure, requirements and the labor market, and then take the necessary steps necessary to ensure its success, he told to the local media.
Last year, the department helped in training "about 19,000 unemployed persons under what are known as Basic Training Programs, which include training courses on various common professions and specialties", Hamdan said.
He added, "The training also included developmental courses specific to the staffs of ministries and other state offices, in which we tried to reinforce employees' skills and experiences in their specific areas of specialization,"
The Ministry of Labor should seek to adopt "an integrated, effective training plan", said Abd Khider al-Taher, who serves on the parliamentary committee on labor and social affairs. He stated, "An integrated training plan for the unemployed should be worked out so that it offers various training programs and courses that meet local market needs for skilled labor, particularly in high-demand work specializations."
The plan should "include other programs to embrace trainees by giving them priority to fill available work opportunities and integrate them into public and private sector institutions", al-Taher said.