Lebanon CSP Transforming Lives -Improving Employment Opportunities
USAID SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT IMPROVES EMPLOYMENT IN THRIVING SECTORUSAID’s Technical and Vocational Scholarship Program Enables Vulnerable Students to Enhance Their Employability Skills
“The soft skills modules which were included in the curriculum really helped me to reach the next step in my career. This gave me a lot more confidence with my applications and to showcase my skills and experience in an effective manner. I immediately started receiving several offers via LinkedIn.”
Born and raised in Tripoli, North Lebanon, Abdallah is the eldest of four children. While completing his first degree in Management Information Systems at the Lebanese Faculty of Business, he simultaneously worked with his father at a currency exchange store to help support the rest of his family. In 2017, however, both he and his father were laid off, thereby plunging the family into precarity. Although Abdallah managed to secure a job as a programmer developing desktop applications for a small company, his father has remained unemployed to this day.
“The responsibility of having to provide for my entire family at a young age has made me strive to focus on my career and seek constant professional growth,” he shared. Although Abdallah’s job offered relative financial stability, the salary remained low and he struggled to make ends meet. He therefore started seeking new employment opportunities, but these proved unsuccessful: “I would submit as many applications as I could, and though I felt qualified for these roles, I was receiving no responses.” In this rapidly changing sector, he felt that his skills were quickly becoming obsolete: “I was so focused on this project that I had lost touch with the demands of the labor market, and I realized that my desktop skills no longer matched what businesses were looking for.” Abdallah knew that he needed to shift his career from desktop applications, an area with little demand in Lebanon, towards more advanced web development: “I wanted to be prepared for the market and to match the needs of any company.”
In 2021, he decided to apply to the Full Stack Web Development course at Saint Elie Technical Institute and was awarded a scholarship from USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP), which covered his tuition, medical insurance, a monthly stipend coving his transportation fees, and a laptop to facilitate his learning. The course, developed in partnership with CSP’s partner, CODI, included key digital literacy modules as well as soft skills classes designed specifically for coders. “The course really helped me develop new technical skills,” he shared, “but the soft skills element was truly the most beneficial: it taught me how to enhance my CV, write a good cover letter, create an attractive LinkedIn profile, improve my communication and interpersonal skills, as well as how to succeed in interviews.”
Abdallah wasted no time in putting his new set of skills to use and was offered a far more lucrative opportunity shortly before completing his course. “I used to be afraid of being rejected in applications; the soft skills course gave me the confidence to get out there and apply,” he stated. He now works as a full stack web developer where he manages three websites for a content production company.
Abdallah is one of 45 recipients of USAID’s scholarship program so far who have found improved employment following the completion of their chosen technical or vocational courses.