Youth, Education and Employment

Counselling Arabia Conference 2011: Youth at a Crossroads

Counselling Arabia Conference 2011ICOS has recently taken part in The Counselling Arabia Conference, presented in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, this year, with the aim of informing counselling professionals on issues faced by Arab youth and best practices in working with this population.

Held under the esteemed patronage of HH Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology of Egypt, the conference brings together professionals who occupy key positions in private and public sector organizations to discuss, network and develop their respective professions with the goal of evolving counselling practices for Arab youth. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Youth at the Crossroads’ focusing on issues today’s Arab youth encounter in the modern world.

ICOS Sheds Light on Perceptions

ICOS was invited to present on its experience in addressing Human Capital issues in the region. The breakout session was conducted by Emmanuel Reinert, ICOS Executive Director, and Dalia Yazbak, Manager of the ICOS Education & Employment Programme and commenced with a presentation on the findings of the Emirates Foundation-sponsored research study on The Personal Perceptions and Recommendations of Unemployed Emirati Youth.

The presentation was able to ignite much interest, leading to a highly interactive discussion  organised by ICOS between the attending group of practitioners and a specially invited group of university students from Zayed Universty and the Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology.

Voices of the Youth

The debate served to provide the young Emirati students with a platform to discuss their viewpoints on the obstacles they face entering the job market, issues of  stereotyping that are often encountered and their needs from counsellors and practitioners with regards to work readiness and support.  Through the debate, practitioners became increasingly interested in questioning the students on their viewpoints and perceptions, often leading to a different understanding on their preconceptions.  The session received a great deal of positive feedback and agreement on the need for ongoing close engagement amongst the various stakeholder groups.

ICOS Labs:  Connecting stakeholders

The session’s success lead to a strong consensus amongst the mixed group of professionals and students on the need for a systematic multi-stakeholder process, such as the ICOS Labs, involving government, employers and the youth themselves to effectively respond to the needs of the youth. enabling improved policy-making and the implementation of targeted initiatives.

ICOS is currently launching a series of Labs on Youth Unemployment in the UAE, in partnership with key stakeholder groups.

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