Dubai – MENA Herald: Education For Employment (EFE), MENA’s leading non-profit network driving youth employment, has launched its regional branch office in the UAE at an event held on 25th May at the Capital Club, Dubai, under the royal patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and with support of lead event sponsor Citi Foundation. At the gala ceremony, His Excellency highlighted the importance of enabling youth in the country to fulfill their enormous potential to develop a globally competitive and knowledge based economy.

Across the MENA region, EFE offers targeted training and coaching aimed at creating opportunities for unemployed or underserved youth – either through job placements or encouraging entrepreneurship. EFE’s regional hub office was launched to recognize the positive potential of youth and to help them surmount the rising challenge of unemployment across the region and here in the UAE. His Excellency will assume the role of Honorary Chairman of EFE in the UAE.

At the occasion, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, commented, “It’s a great pleasure to celebrate the launch of regional hub of Education for Employment (EFE) Program in the UAE. The vision of EFE focuses on the greatest need in the Arab World- to empower youth with skills and opportunities to build careers that create a better future for themselves, their communities and the world. EFE’s dedication to employment of young men and women coincides with our national commitment to building and maintaining a knowledge based economy and achieving full employment for our young people. EFE has been notably successful in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and Yemen. EFE graduates in those countries are productively employed. As a country concerned about the economic and social health of our region, the United Arab Emirates is grateful for what EFE has accomplished. We are pleased that the UAE will provide assistance, training, expertise and network to support EFE affiliates in the MENA.”

EFE, which launched operations in seven countries (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia) over the past ten years, empowers young women and men with skills to thrive in the workplace by bridging the gap between employers, education institutions and youth. This stability and dignity enables EFE graduates to support their families and contribute effectively to their society and economy. To achieve this and to help the private and public sectors in benefiting from dynamic young talent, EFE successfully partners with some of the most established corporations and associations in the region. The launch event was sponsored by Citi Foundation, lead sponsor, and by the Western Union Foundation. Recent regional partners include: Boeing, Impact Porter Novelli, Marriott International, MBC Hope, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Foundation, and White & Case, as well as Sharjah Business Women Council in the UAE. EFE Founding Sponsors in the UAE include Citi Foundation, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Crescent Enterprises, JISR Venture Partners, and The Abraaj Group as well as Abdel Aziz Al Yaquot and Raza Jafar.

EFE provides targeted job training and placement, employability and entrepreneurship programs while working directly with the employers in a wide range of growth industries such as ICT and e-Commerce, hospitality and retail. This distinctive demand-driven model is the engine of EFE’s tremendous success across the region. Already, EFE has helped nearly 10,000 unemployed, high potential youth to secure their first job while supporting more than 2,000 businesses to obtain the entry-level talent they need to grow. Over half of EFE’s graduates are young women, reflecting EFE’s special focus on supporting women’s entry into the workforce.

Ronald Bruder, Founder and Chairman of EFE who participated in the UAE launch, said, “In this time of rapid change, closing the gap between youth, employers and educators in the region is more important than ever before. We at EFE are proud to serve as this crucial bridge that connects youth to economic opportunity and provides our partners with a platform for creating a meaningful impact through youth employment. I am grateful for the tremendous encouragement from our Honorary Patron and our partners, and look forward to the positive changes we can make with their support.”

Samer Choumar, Managing Director, EFE added, “The MENA region has the fastest-growing youth population in the world, and also its highest youth unemployment rate. In what many view as a crisis, we at EFE see the positive potential. When youth have the right skills and opportunities, they can energize business here in the region and serve as the backbone of dynamic economies and societies.”

The WEF Global Risks Survey 2016 revealed that among energy prices and fiscal crises, unemployment was cited as one of the top three business risks in the Middle East. One of the major factors cited as contributing to this trend is the gap between the skills taught in educational institutions and the actual needs of the labor market.