Young and old people from the city of Tabqa, southwest of Raqqa, have entered a vocational programme aimed at providing them with new skills and an entry point into the job market.
In the town of Tabqa, northern Syria, an organisation called Better Hope for Al-Tabqa, has opened a new college for the residents of the town and the surrounding region. The purpose of the college is to teach vocational skills to all people, regardless of their age. The organisation hopes that the additional skills taught to the people of Tabqa will help them enter the labour market, particularly as Syria prepares for its crucial reconstruction phase.
“We came to this free course to learn and we do not pay for what they give us,” said Saleh al-Ali, a student at the college. “Electrical installation is a good profession and I will benefit from it in the coming days. The course provides a lot of practical and theoretical lessons. We are learning a profession here.”
The college has divided its courses into three different vocations: sanitary installation, domestic electrical installation and agriculture. All three courses teach essential skills that will enable each student to play a role in the rehabilitation of their country upon graduation.
The nearby city of Raqqa was almost completely destroyed by the scorched earth policy of ISIS. The militants caused total or partial damage to an estimated 65% of homes and 95% of structures and the city’s infrastructure as they lost territory to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Although ISIS was defeated in Raqqa in October last year, parts of the city still remain in a ruinous condition.
As reconstruction steadily progresses through the city and its suburbs, engineers and volunteers who have so far taken up the task will welcome an additional cadre of newly trained plumbers and electricians to assist in the rebuilding effort.
Moreover, agricultural land was not spared by ISIS’ scorched earth tactics, with many fields and supporting buildings burnt down by the militants. Additional local workers that have been trained by the Tabqa College will be able to join the effort in restoring the farms in the region, which in turn can once again grow produce for the people of Syria.
“The number of trainees is 40 for each course and its duration is two months,” said Abdul Hakim al-Rawi, one of the college’s lecturers. “After the graduation of this batch [of students] we will start the second course and we will get another 120 trainees in the next 6 months. There are no fees and tuition is free and we provide back and forth transportation for trainees.”
In addition to the college providing its students with skills that will benefit the future of Syria’s reconstruction and economic growth, it also provides students with a vital means of supporting themselves and their families.