Bridging the Gap between Job Seekers and Employers

The Al Morad Project in Morocco

Through our youth employment and entrepreneurship programming in Africa, we’ve recognized the need to link young people to real opportunities that exist in the labour market. Currently, there are large gaps between education systems and the private sector, resulting in a skills mismatch between young job seekers and employers, as well as high youth unemployment rates.

Addressing the skills needs of young people across the continent is central to our Youth Livelihoods strategy and an urgent undertaking, with eleven million young people expected to enter Africa’s labour market every year for the next decade.

We’re making strides in this endeavour, and that is why we are celebrating our partnership with the Education for Employment Foundation in Morocco (EFE-Maroc) for its success in strengthening ties between young job seekers, employers and educators.

The Al Morad project was launched in 2011 to provide high quality technical and transferable skills training for unemployed university graduates and economically disadvantaged youth. The main objective of Al Morad was to improve youth employability in Morocco, while also strengthening ties between the private sector and local universities.

In Morocco, 20 percent of young people between the ages of 15-24 are unemployed. The unemployment rate among university graduates is much higher at 24.6 percent. This is due to a number of factors, including young job seeker’s preference for public sector employment, a scarcity of high quality jobs and a vast discrepancy between the skills that young graduates receive and the skills that the job market needs.

After five years, the Al Morad project has provided employment training to more than 2,700 unemployed university graduates, 80 percent of whom were still working at least three months after their job placement. To extend its reach, EFE-Maroc also delivered an abridged version of its employability curriculum that served a larger and more diverse segment of 12,250 youth within youth centres and universities.

The project established and extended the reach of an Alumni Club that assists youth with job placement, and provides another access point to engage graduates for continued education and links to job opportunities.

EFE-Maroc has made critical breakthroughs in bridging the gap between the education system and the labour market. The Al Morad project has improved the ability of 34 educational institutions (local universities and youth centres) to increase the employability of their students. The project has helped to integrate formal career and employment preparation curricula into the classrooms of educational institutions in Morocco – a significant advancement that had never before been achieved in the country.

By engaging with prospective employers from the very beginning and assessing labour market skills needs, EFE-Maroc delivered customized job-readiness skills training, including resume writing, networking, organizational and interview skills, that are often missing in higher education and training programs. Involving the private sector at the early stages was also fundamental in securing internship and job placements for youth who completed their training.

Young people who completed the training, such as Sanaa Fathallah, gained confidence and a more positive outlook on their employment prospects. “I learned how to really search for jobs.  I learned how to manage my energy and stress when I speak with people in public and I have more ease in communicating,” she says.

EFE-Maroc has also developed strong partnerships with more than 126 private sector companies over the course of the project. Through these partnerships, youth participants were able to access job opportunities with businesses ranging from global multinationals to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) such as Accenture, Varun Beverage Maroc (Pepsi) and Phone Group.

Abdeliliah Laadiou was accepted into the sales training program with Al Morad after unsuccessfully looking for work for two years as a graduate in Information Technology studies. Upon completing his training, he secured an interview with the Moroccan technology company Iwaco and is now working full time as a client manager. “I changed my vision of the job market and the manner in which I search for jobs.  These are things that we cannot learn or find easily in the city where I lived.”

The Al Morad project has made great strides in making an impact at the systems level, to ensure that educational institutions and the private sector are better equipped to address the skills needs of young people. The training curricula that EFE-Maroc has developed is a true value addition to universities and career centres and is currently being replicated across Morocco.

Through our collaboration with EFE-Maroc, we have learned about the importance of bringing companies together from different industries to identify the skills young job seekers need from potential employers. This project has also helped to reinforce our commitment to listening to those we serve, and paying attention to the perceptions and expectations that young people have when entering the labour market.