Qatar Career Development Center (QCDC), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), has wrapped up the first edition of its Career Readiness Program, which aims to enhance the delivery of career guidance services to students with mild to moderate learning challenges from Awsaj Academy, also a member of QF.
Adapting the best international career guidance models into the local context, the program bolsters the confidence of students, creating more opportunities to grow their skills and help them make informed choices about their professional future. It also attempts to establish effective local career eco-systems and reshape society’s approach to education and learning.
At the same time, the program tackles three key challenges, the first of which is assuring families their child’s education is leading to a valued outcome. The second challenge is to bring awareness to the larger community about barriers students are facing and how these can be lifted. A third challenge that will be further addressed in the next academic year is to educate employers on how to integrate the concerned population in their operations.
During a ceremony held recently at Awsaj Academy in Education City to celebrate the completion of the program, students shared their journey with parents, counselors, and members of both QCDC and Awsaj Academy.
Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Abdulla Al-Mansoori, Director, QCDC, said: “The Career Readiness Program represents more than just another career guidance-related project. It is an important initiative that reflects our strong commitment along with our partners to empowering all segments of society to make a meaningful contribution to the advancement of Qatar National Vision 2030.”
Mr. Mark Hughes, Director, Awsaj Academy, said: “Our objective is to support our students on functional, social, and academic levels with programs that prepare them for beyond school, college, or career pathways. At Awsaj Academy, our students receive support in outlined areas, and collaborating with QCDC during the Career Readiness Program helps make services available for our students with an emphasis of meeting diverse learning needs. As we integrate students back into the community, they are equipped with a combination of academics and functional skills aligned with their personal capabilities and professional interests.”
The Career Readiness Program was piloted last year within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between QCDC and Awsaj Academy.
The program featured weekly cross-structural interventions and project-based learning activities that have been integrated in the school’s curriculums. Activities included workshops, motivational talks by Qatari entrepreneurs, field trips to different industries, volunteering opportunities, and social responsibility projects that highlight the ethical values of the Qatari society, and connects the larger community with students.
The program also featured practical internship opportunities. QCDC created individual internship plans that capitalized on the strengths and interests of students. The internships ran on a weekly basis, with tasks gradually increasing in complexity and intensity.
Through such activities, the program empowers students to become active members of society by seeking career paths that align with QNV 2030, and contribute positively to the diversification of the Qatari economy.