Young vocational training graduate shares her successful career journey through UNESCO-Rep of Korea funded project

Each year on 12 August, International Youth Day is celebrated to raise awareness and to give recognition to youth and the positive contributions they bring to communities and nations across the globe. This year youth issues, such as high youth unemployment, has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. On this occasion, UNESCO has the pleasure to introduce Fatima Abdullah who, despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, demonstrated resilience and determination to make the best of a bad situation to improve her skills and knowledge for employment and lifelong learning.


Growing up with five siblings in Syria, Fatima Abdullah, 23-years-old, had big dreams to build a better future. “Do not let anything hold you back from achieving success. It is all in your hands to turn challenge into motivation to improve yourself,” said Fatima.


After arriving to Jordan in 2013, Fatima’s family moved to a house in the countryside of Irbid. Determined, Fatima started shaping her future by taking classes in Graphic Design and earned a certified technical and vocational education and training (TVET) diploma from Toledo College, a community college in Irbid. Her persistence to seek knowledge encouraged her to look for further opportunities to pursue her dreams.


In March 2019, after hearing about the Republic of Korea-funded UNESCO-TVET scholarship programme from a family member, Fatima decided to apply, focusing on a discipline close to what she had already studied – Art and Design. After conducting a series of tests and successful interviews, she was admitted into the Art and Design training discipline. “I was really excited to begin my studies in May 2019, I felt alive being around the campus and attending lectures”, said Fatima. 


The Art and Design scholarship was offered within the framework of “Provision of TVET, On-The-Job-Training and Entrepreneurship Education to Youth Affected by the Syria Crisis in Jordan” project through a strong partnership between the Government of the Republic of Korea and UNESCO, and implemented by Luminus Technical University College (LTUC). The project is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular Sustainable Development Goal 4 “Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning".


In January 2020, Fatima did her on-the-job-training experience for one-month at Bent Al Jami’a Printing House in Amman, and then received a job offer from the owner of the company. “Fatima demonstrated a high level of commitment during her on-the-job-training. I am happy to have her as a member of our growing family and can’t emphasise enough how determined she is when it comes to achieving what she sets her mind to,” said Ibrahim Al Nuaimi, owner of the Printing House, at the time of hiring Fatima.  


At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the full lockdown of the country, Fatima had to stop working from March-June 2020. In July 2020, she graduated and received her BTEC level II[1] Diploma in Art and Design from Luminus Technical University College (LTUC) and she also resumed her work.


Fatima saw the lockdown as a chance to continue learning building on the knowledge she had acquired during her diploma programme and on-the-job-training. During this time, she expanded her knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and self-learned professional techniques to benefit her future career.

In January 2021, she moved to Zarqa Governorate for family reasons but was able to successfully find employment almost immediately with the skills and experience she had gained. Since February 2021, Fatima has been working as a designer with Typing Jo in Zarqa Governorate, a Media Design Store, “I design all advertising and printing materials and I follow up on everything at the store”, said Fatima.


“The challenges I have faced weren’t easy but now more than ever, I am committed to successfully earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees,” Fatima mentioned. “My advice to all youth: move forward to something bigger, brighter, and more successful,” Fatima said as she reflected on how far she had come.


[1] The BTEC are specialist work-related qualifications. They combine practical learning with subject and theory content. There are over 2,000 BTEC qualifications across 16 sectors – they are available from entry level through professional qualifications at level 7 (equivalent to postgraduate study). Under this UNESCO programme, level 2 is offered to the beneficiary students.