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WHAT IS TAQADDAM?

Taqaddam, meaning ‘Moving Forward’ in Arabic, is an innovative blended-learning programme that develops enduring life skills in 15 to 16-year-olds across several countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The programme combines online learning with practical face-to-face workshops for teachers and young participants, with an exciting inter-school event at the end of the programme.

The programme aims to increase the chances and outlook for participants, helping them to reach their full potential by developing the personal and social skills they need to make a positive contribution to their communities and society.

WHY IS TAQADDAM NEEDED?

Today’s young people are living in an increasingly complex and challenging world. Globalisation and technology are bringing about significant changes in the workplace where there is increased competition for jobs and demand for higher levels of skills. This is having a profound effect on the fast-growing young population of the MENA region, where many young people are leaving education unprepared for this rapidly changing environment and facing the prospect of long-term unemployment.

Unemployment has become the norm for school leavers in the MENA region. The average spell of unemployment for school leavers in Egypt, for example, is nearly 34 months. In its 2012 report, the World Economic Forum stated that ‘these young people are in dire need of an economic future, which will support the conditions for human development, as well as vibrant and inclusive social cohesion’.

WHO IS INVOLVED?

Key partners in the project are HSBC; the British Council in MENA; and UK delivery partner Spark+Mettle.

The British Council has direct relationships with overseas ministries and education providers and forged a partnership with HSBC, our funder, to create Taqaddam.

Melanie Relton, director of skills and education in the MENA region at the British Council, said: “Taqaddam aligns with the British Council’s vision of creating positive life outcomes for individuals, particularly young people, by giving them the skills for work and life. It makes economic and social sense for us to invest in Taqaddam, as social and economic changes can only be achieved through investment and by expanding opportunities for young people.”

Your British Council country team will liaise with you and support you through Taqaddam. You will meet members of the team at the teacher briefing, the teacher training and the workshops. British Council country teams may also visit your school to support you with your Taqaddam classes.

HSBC is our funding partner. Its commitment to helping young people reach their potential has led to a wide range of community investment programmes.

Sabrin Rahman, head of corporate sustainability for the MENA region at HSBC, said: “We helped devise the Taqaddam concept as we felt there was a disconnect between what skills were on offer in the marketplace and what employers were looking for. Traditional educational systems, especially public schooling, just do not focus on the softer and more transferable skills that are needed for the workplace of the future.”

Volunteers from HSBC take a hands-on approach to Taqaddam. They attend the workshops and the Make It Happen! event, support the running of the programme, present short talks about using life skills in the workplace, and give advice and guidance to students.

Spark+Mettle, a member of a larger grant-giving organisation called the Goodall Foundation, is the UK delivery partner for Taqaddam. Spark+Mettle creates the programme content and its facilitators deliver the workshops and coordinate the Make It Happen! events.

Anna Rowlands, project manager for Taqaddam, said: “Since 2011 Spark+Mettle has been committed to helping young people and their communities develop the strengths, skills and attitudes needed to lead purposeful, productive and happy lives. We are delighted to be bringing our wealth of experience to this brilliant initiative.”