Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Enhancing youth employability in the Mediterranean

Written by Christelle Marot on Wednesday, September 2nd 2015 à 18:23 | Read 878 times

The HOMERe programme prepares young graduates for the labour market.

Ecole centrale de Marseille (Wikimedia JosuéJacob)
Ecole centrale de Marseille (Wikimedia JosuéJacob)
In the Mediterranean region, the skills gap remains a major stumbling block for those entering the labour market. According to the World Bank, this would explain why 42% of companies in the MENA region do not employ 15-24 year-olds. A lack of knowledge of the professional environment and its standards is another obstacle in finding a first job. 

Already handicapped by the economic crisis and today’s flat growth figures, youngsters are faced with extremely high unemployment rates – 23.7% in North Africa according to the International Labour Organisation. In Greece and Spain more than one in two young persons is on the dole. And the outlook remains bleak. Youth unemployment in North Africa is set to hover around 24% until 2018, reaching 30% in the Middle East. On the southern shore of the Mediterranean, graduate unemployment rates are among the highest in the world.

The HOMERe (High Opportunity for Mediterranean Executive Recruitment) programme was launched by the RMEI (Mediterranean Network of Engineering and Business Schools) and the French Foreign Trade Advisors in 2015. Through HOMERe, young persons have access to long-term international placements designed to encourage their assimilation into the business world. Once selected, the RMEI prepares the student for international mobility and provides both assistance with obtaining the required visa and any additional training he or she may need. 

For developing companies located on both sides of the Mediterranean there are real advantages: time savings, a free and transparent process and the constitution of a pool of young and operational talent. 

In its pilot phase, HOMERe is being implemented by four northern countries (France, Spain, Greece, Italy) and five on the southern shore (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon). The programme is due to be extended to the entire Mediterranean later.

Today, international companies recruit locally. But the distances involved mean that teams do not know each other. This can cause problems with communication and trust. Employers need young people who understand the company’s corporate culture,” points out Philippe Saliou, university lecturer at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale and member of the RMEI.

In Morocco, the digital technologies group CGI is using HOMERe for its pre-employment internships. Working in partnership with the Brest-based university, CGI Morocco each year selects around forty graduates from Morocco’s state-run universities. “The graduates who go to CGI France get a head start in their careers, both in terms of acquiring technical skills and in other fields such as communication, writing skills and teamwork. The key advantages are the mobility, the immersion in a master’s degree in a foreign country and an operational internship dealing with real clients,” says Mohamed Lakhlifi, managing director of CGI Morocco.

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