Launch Workshop MOBILISE in Tunisia, Egypt and Ethiopia
In October three launch events took place to officially kick-off the MOBILISE project in the partner countries Tunisia, Egypt and Ethiopia. MSM and Aeres representatives traveled to the partner countries to together with the partners launch the circular migration project.
Launch workshop MOBILISE Tunisia
On Thursday 28th of September, a project launch workshop took place at the Hotel Barceló Concorde Berges du Lac in Tunis, under the facilitation of Mr Walid Gaddas, MSM Country Coordinator for Tunisia.
The event was opened by welcome remarks of MSM Project Director, Dr Huub Mudde, and of the Dutch Deputy Ambassador, Mr Erik Petersen. Positive and encouraging remarks were also offered by Mr Ahmed Messaoudi, Director General of International Job Placement and Foreign manpower at the Tunisian Ministry of Professional Training and Employment.
Other participants included representatives of the Tunisian higher education sector (a.o. from the Mediterranean School of Business (MSB-SMU)), private companies from the horticulture market, the relevant bodies from Tunisian government and of international governmental and non-governmental organizations working in Tunisia with circular migration, labour mobility, climate smart agriculture and youth entrepreneurship.
Firstly, the workshop was the opportunity for MSM and Aeres to present the MOBILISE project design and goals, providing details to the participants and collecting their feedback and recommendations. Then Mr. Gaddas presented the main results of the Tunisian scoping study, with appreciated insights on the labour needs of the Tunisian horticulture market and on the skills gap with the current graduates from higher education.
Finally, an active debate focused on the main opportunities and challenges for the design of the talent development program, and in particular on the targeted participants, the skills to be strengthened in the pre-departure program and on the design of the return program.
The horticulture companies provided very useful inputs on the most needed skills for the medium and high positions within their organizations. Companies also declared a strong interest for being engaged in the project, both by providing job or internship opportunities to the participants returning from the Netherlands, or by enrolling some of their employees in a professional track of the talent development program.
To conclude, participants declared their interest to be engaged in further consultations over the next months, with the intent to create a multi-stakeholder Advisory Group that provides feedback and inputs on the core components and activities of the talent development program.
Visit to AVFA and ISA-CM
The field mission in Tunisia was also an opportunity for the Dutch Project Management Team (PMT), together with Mr. Walid Gaddas, to pay a visit to some local higher education institutes specialized in horticulture, which could be the technical partners in the set-up and implementation of the talent development program.
The PMT visited the Lycée Sectoriel de Formation Professionnelle Agricole de Bouchrik and the Centre Sectoriel de Formation Professionnelle Agricole de Chott-Meriem, two TVET colleges referring to the Agence de Vulgarisation et de Formation Agricole (AVFA), and the Institut Supérieur Agronomique de Chott Mériem (ISA-CM), part of the Université de Sousse.
During the visit, the MSM-Aeres team could meet the schools’ management and academic leadership, revising their current bachelor programs in horticulture and discussing about possible complementarity with the talent development program. Furthermore, they could meet and talk with some of the currently enrolled students who presented their experience within the current programmes, their ambitions for the future and their interest for an experience abroad in the Netherlands.
The meetings were very positive, and both the academic leadership and the students could see the added value that a program with Dutch academic partners and private companies could bring to their current offer, with an increased focus on practical training, entrepreneurship and a mix of technical and soft skills demanded by the modern horticulture sector.
The Dutch and Tunisian institutes are now continuing discussions on the possibility to set up a joint programme involving students from the different schools.
Launch mission MOBILISE Egypt
From Tunis, the MSM-Aeres Project management team travelled directly to Cairo, Egypt, to meet the local Country Coordinator Ms Nada El Guindy, professors from the local education partner Kafr El Sheik University (KFS), several companies form horti-sector and other relevant stakeholders.
Meeting with Kafr El Sheik University
On the first day, a delegation from KFS Faculty of Agriculture, composed of Prof. Farouk Elaidy, Dr Ali El Sherif and Dr Mohamed Sharaf, came to Cairo to discuss the results of the Egyptian scoping study and work together on the overall design of the talent development programme for Egypt. The Dutch and Egyptian partners reviewed the current KFS Bachelor programmes, focusing both on the skills and competences that would need to be strengthened in the pre-departure program and on the fitting within the current academic year.
The identified target group are the students of the third year Bachelor program in Horticulture and the first batch could travel already next summer, from July to September 2024. First ideas were gathered about the selection criteria and process, but these will be further refined over the next weeks. Dutch and Egyptian partners agreed on the practical and entrepreneurial focus that the pre-departure programme should have and on the need for involving Egyptian horticulture companies from an early stage, to provide opportunities to participants for exposure visits and practical assignments already before the working experience in the Netherlands.
Workshop with horticulture companies
On the second day in Cairo, an active and participated workshop with representatives of six companies from the Egyptian horticulture sector took place. The meeting gave the opportunity to validate the results of the Egyptian scoping study and to collect further inputs on some key issues for the development of the talent program.
Firstly, private companies discussed their views about the trends of the Egyptian horticulture market, the sub-sectors and products with the highest potential, the growing techniques and technologies in the country and the jobs that will be most relevant in the next years.
Secondly, participants exchanged ideas and experiences about the skills that are most needed for working in their companies, and the gap with the preparation of the graduates and professionals that they currently recruit in the job market.
Finally, companies provided suggestions on their concrete participation to the project, including hosting practical trainings in the pre-departure program, offering traineeship opportunities upon return from the Netherlands, participating in the selection committee for recruitment of participants and potentially enrolling some of their employees in an eventual professional track of the talent development program.
These inputs were confirmed and further enriched by other bilateral meetings and interviews with large horticulture companies and sectorial business associations, which took place during the three days in Cairo.
The dialogue and cooperation with the private sector will surely continue over the project duration, to ensure a talent program that is focused and relevant for the current and future needs of the horticulture sector.
During the time in Cairo, the MOBILISE team paid a visit to the Dutch Embassy and to the European Union Delegation (EUD) in Egypt, to inform them about the latest development of the project and to exchange views on the strategic priorities and next steps for implementation.
Both institutions confirmed the alignment of the project with the priorities of the Dutch government and of the European Union in cooperating with Egypt, both in agricultural development and in migration policies, and the strong interest for these themes in the current political agenda. Communication and collaboration with the Embassy and with the EUD will continue closely in the next steps of the project, as well as in the other two countries.
Launch workshop MOBILISE Ethiopia
Last but not least, on Wednesday 11th of October a project launch workshop took place in Ethiopia, at the Sapphire Hotel in Addis Ababa, under the facilitation of Ms Alemfrie Derese, MSM Country Coordinator for Ethiopia.
The event was opened with welcome remarks of MSM Project Director, Dr Huub Mudde, and of the Agricultural Counsellor of the Dutch Embassy in Addis, Mr Meeuwes Brouwer. The Ethiopian government was represented by Mr Tesfaye Haile, Head of Curriculum and program Desk at the Ethiopian Ministry of Education.
Other participants included representatives of the Ethiopian project partner Hawassa University - College of Agriculture (HU), other academic institutes, private companies from the horticulture market and of international governmental and non-governmental organizations working in Ethiopia with circular migration and climate smart agriculture.
As for the event in Tunis, after a first presentation of the MOBILISE project design and goals, the country coordinator Ms Alemfrie Derese presented the main results of the Ethiopian scoping study, with appreciated insights on the skills gap in the horticulture sector and on the latest trends concerning labour mobility to and from Ethiopia.
Then, an active debate between participants on the main opportunities and challenges for the design of the talent development program took place. A key topic for the discussion was the identification of most relevant (and difficult to fill) job positions within the horticulture companies, on the related skills and competences and then on how the talent program could help to better prepare graduates.
Finally, participants declared their interest to be engaged in further consultations over the next months and take part in a potential Advisory Group that will provide feedback and inputs on the core components and activities of the talent development program.
Visit to Hawassa University
In the following days, the MSM-Aeres team travelled to Hawassa to visit the HU campus and meet the academic leadership of the College of Agriculture, including the Dean Dr Yoseph Tarekegn.
The Dutch and Ethiopian partners reviewed the current HU Bachelor programmes and further explored the jobs-skills-contents that were discussed in Addis with external stakeholders. The identified target group are the students of the third year from different Bachelor programs, including horticulture, agri-business, plant science, etc. The first batch could travel to the Netherlands already next summer, from July to September 2024.
Further details on the pre-departure program content, modality, and selection process will be developed during the next online and in-person workshops.
During the visit at HU, the PMT also had the chance to meet with current students from the bachelor programs and with fresh graduates enrolled in the HU incubator for agricultural start-ups. Discussion with these young Ethiopians gave further insight on their current preparation, their ambitions, the opportunities and on the challenges they face when entering the job market, giving a clear indication of the added value that such a program with the Netherlands could bring to their professional development.
The Migration Partnership Facility
This news item has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union, contracted by ICMPD through the Migration Partnership Facility. The contents of this news item are the sole responsibility of the Maastricht School of Management, Maastricht University and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union and the one of ICMPD.
MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies
This project is part of MSM's Expert Center of Emerging Economies (ECEE) and will be led by Project Director Dr. Huub Mudde and Project Manager Stefano Locatelli. The project will run from June 2023 until May 2027. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets. We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.
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