“This was the experience of a lifetime,” said one of the students. “We are so grateful for having been chosen to participate in this programme,” said another. “We learned so much over the past four months.”
Almost 400 women applied for the programme, which was the second such training initiative implemented by AMIDEAST and supported by the embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands. Aiming to provide women with the skill sets and confidence needed to enter the working world, the programme also enables participants to play a more active role in society and to become role models for their families and communities.
“We are proud that we were able to support this AMIDEAST programme for a second time. This is a programme that adopts a practical approach to tackle a core need of Omani society, i.e. providing young women with skills that will improve their chances in the labour market. In a country that is evolving this rapidly and has some real challenges ahead of it with a long way to go, you need all hands on deck with appropriate skills,” said Stefan van Wersch, the ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in his speech at the graduation ceremony.
Highlights of the programme included career “shadowing”, where participants spent one or two days at various work sites that ranged from private sector companies to academic institutions, a visit to the National Hospitality Institute to learn about tourism-related careers, and guest speakers who focused on topics such as legal rights, time management, and community service.
“It has been very rewarding to see how the programme has empowered the participants,” said Noor Dawood, AMIDEAST/Oman project manager. “They have gained confidence and enthusiasm having acquired increased proficiency in English, practiced new IT skills, and learned about strategies for finding employment.” About 20 of the women have attended job interviews in recent weeks, and two have already secured employment. Today’s graduates join 30 alumnae from the previous Dutch-funded programme, 10 of whom are now working. These alumnae keep in regular contact with AMIDEAST, and will be participating in future career-related activities that offer opportunities for networking and continued skill development. “You have given us so much, during the short period we spent with you,” said one alumna. “Honestly, those were the happiest moments in my entire life.”
“I look forward to hearing about the students’ continued progress,” remarked Christiana Duke, an AMIDEAST English Language instructor who provided daily language classes for all participants. “This programme was definitely a catalyst to propel them into a successful future.”