In a letter from His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein to the Prime Minister on the occasion of Independence Day, 25 May 2007, he announced the launch of a programme to recruit civilians into the Jordan Armed Forces to work in the construction sector. It aims at training a highly skilled and qualified Jordanian workforce to alleviate poverty and unemployment and to enhance the spirit of national belonging, discipline and commitment of all participants in the project.
Another motivating factor was the anticipated large increase in the volume of investment in the construction sector for the years 2008-2012, and the sector’s need to employ around 150,000 employees. From another perspective, local workers have been unwilling to work in this sector, which allowed foreign workers to compose the majority of workers, even though some construction jobs bring in high incomes. The project concentrates on these better paying jobs.
The project will be executed in cooperation with the armed forces, Ministry of Labour and private sector institutions. Thirty thousand civilians will be recruited into the armed forces, over many phases, for a time period of five years. They will be trained in 37 professional skills in the construction field and each trainee will be paid a monthly salary of JD 191. Trainees will receive the same benefits as armed forces employees, such as social security, medical insurance, meals, housing, transportation, and an authenticated professional certificate.
Training will be implemented over several phases. Basic military training for 6 weeks (including national culture and education classes) is followed by theoretical vocational training for a time period ranging from a month to two months, according to the nature of the job/profession. The last phase is on-the-job-training; trainees are placed for time periods ranging from 2.5- 6 months in the most prestigious private sector companies. Upon completion, the trainee will be referred to work in private sector companies and will be given the choice between remaining a public service employee in the armed forces or becoming a private sector employee.
During His Majesty’s assessment visit to the project on 5 November 2007, he announced an increase in the number of project beneficiaries in 2007 from 1,500 to 5,000 trainees. This royal gesture came in response to the large numbers of people registering from different youth groups in all areas of the Kingdom.
For the purpose of implementing the project, a nonprofit company owned by the Jordan Armed Forces was established on 25 July 2007 under the name, “National Company for Training and Employment.” The company was supported by the needed human resources and capital and private agreements were signed to implement the project with the Vocational Training Corporation and the Technical Education and Vocational Training Fund.
The project is considered to a model for national partnership between the public sector and the armed forces on one side and the private sector on the other. It also contributes to institutionalising the process of vocational training to play a role in solving the unemployment problem through linking all its training programmes to the actual needs of the labour market.