Displaced Iraqi youth learn job skills and regain hope

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Toyota Iraq joined hands in 2016 to provide young displaced Iraqis with access to sustainable income opportunities. Under this flagship programme, UNDP’s Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) refers potential candidates to Toyota Iraq. 

The Toyota Iraq team provides top class vocational and on-the-job training whilst ICRRP facilitates job placement, if Toyota Iraq cannot recruit them, in local companies. The first group of youth graduated in basic vehicle maintenance in January 2017, whilst the second group graduated in customer relationship management and automotive parts storekeeping in June 2017. 

A third group will begin in August 2017. This programme also provides job opportunities for women affected by the crisis in Iraq, enabling them to go beyond their gendered role as caretakers. One of the women trainees, Taghrid Hassan, 29, from Mosul, said: 

“We thank you for this training; we have benefited so much from it. We have learned how to deal with different clients, and how to respond to their requests by phone and by email in a professional way. I am confident that the new skills I have acquired at Toyota Iraq will increase my chances of finding a job in the customer care field.” 

UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, Mr. Mourad Wahba, visited Sumitomo Corporation, shareholder of Toyota Iraq, in Tokyo on 28 June 2017. He discussed with Mr. Naoki Hidaka, Executive Vice President of Sumitomo Corporation, the partnership between UNDP and Toyota Iraq. 

Mr. Wahba said: “Partnership between UNDP and leading private sector companies, such as Toyota Iraq, can play a key role in enhancing resilience of young people and empowering them as change makers in Iraq. UNDP is proud to work with Toyota Iraq in the implementation of this successful vocational training and job placement programme. It will help displaced Iraqi youth rebuild their lives." 

Mr. Hidaka said: “Iraq is a special country for us, Sumitomo Corporation. We have been exporting Toyota and Hino products since the 1960s. We would like to contribute to a sound and sustainable development of the Iraqi society through our business activities. We continue to provide more education opportunities to Iraqi people together with UNDP.” 

Some of the trainees who have successfully completed the vocational training programme have been recruited by Toyota Iraq, like Omar Hussein Ali, 27, from Ramadi. 

“I have a degree in mechanical engineering but had no working experience in this field. This programme helped me gain hands-on experience in vehicle maintenance. I am so glad I found a job at Toyota Iraq. With my steady salary, I can pay off my debts and provide for my twins and my wife,” he said. UNDP’s ICRRP and Toyota Iraq are committed to continuing this partnership to support Iraqi youth to create a brighter future.

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