Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 17 October 2017: Education For Employment (EFE), the leading organization linking unemployed youth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to tangible job opportunities, and MBC Hope, the CSR branch of the largest private media company in the Middle East, MBC, has launched #FirstJob – an awareness and action campaign that seeks to boost youth employment in the MENA region by changing how youth and employers view a first job. Major corporate entities such as EFE partner Citi Foundation have collaborated in the campaign. The campaign uses narrative storytelling and social media to enable inspiring individuals to share with unemployed youth the story of how they secured their first job and used it as a springboard to success, supporting EFE's commitment to helping unemployed youth enter and thrive in the world of work. Since 2010, youth unemployment rates in the Arab have become the highest of any region at over 27%, with the percentage continuing to rise.
Andrew Baird, President & CEO of Education For Employment – Global (EFE-Global) said: “We're pleased to launch our first regional campaign in partnership with MBC, and with long-standing EFE partners like Citi Foundation at our side. Through the #FirstJob campaign, we are engaging some of the region's top business leaders, as well as young professionals early in their career, to share inspiring stories of their pathway to professional success. We believe that this is an innovative way to encourage youth to proactively seek job opportunities while motivating employers to hire first-time job seekers. The campaign also seeks to inspire more companies and foundations to invest in youth employment initiatives.”
Mazen Hayek MBC Group's Official Spokesman, Group Director of Commercial, PR & CSR said: “Unemployment has become a pressing issue in the Arab world. According to Union of Arab Banks research, the number of unemployed workers in the Middle East has risen to 120 million. To address this challenge, we must invest heavily to increase economic growth rates and build knowledge economy which will create millions of job opportunities annually. We must also educate the youth and equip them with theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as prepare them to enter the marketplace. This asserts the importance of #FirstJob and its role in educating the youth and utilising their capabilities in their first job, which will in turn foster their competitive-edge in the future.”
Commenting on the launch, Karim Seifeddine, Head of Public Affairs, Middle East and Africa from Citi said: “Citi is honored to be partnering with Education For Employment in the #FirstJob campaign to support young people in the region to develop sustainable economic futures and help reduce youth unemployment. At Citi Foundation, we continue to support programs that catalyze economic growth and provide our youth with economic opportunities to thrive and promote continued progress through entrepreneurship training, mentorship, and leadership development.
Dima Najim, EFE's Managing Director – UAE noted that: “The #FirstJob campaign was launched in celebration of EFE's tenth anniversary. Since the first youth graduated EFE programs a decade ago, over 50,000 unemployed youth across the MENA region have been connected to the world of work with support from EFE. This impact is made possible by the support of over 2,300 EFE partners, such as MBC Hope and Citi Foundation.”
EFE links youth to skills that reflect market demands, as well as tangible opportunities like jobs, internships, and business startup support – a distinctive approach in the region.