The American University in Cairo (AUC) celebrated the opening of two university career development centres at Alexandria University, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), on 29 November.
The inauguration was attended by USAID Deputy Mission Director Rebecca Latorraca, President of Alexandria University Essam El-Kordi, AUC President Francis Ricciardone, and Ashraf Hatem, AUC counselor.
The inauguration was also attended by Alexandria University vice presidents, deans and a number of university presidents and higher education experts.
The two centres are among 20 career development centres in 12 Egyptian universities in Greater Cairo, the Nile Delta and Upper Egypt, to be established by AUC with funding from USAID and in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education.
Reflecting on the inauguration, Ricciardone said, “As AUC celebrates one hundred years of excellence in education and service to Egypt, we are glad to share our expertise in career guidance through the two career development centres that are established in partnership with Alexandria University. The value of those centres lies in the impact they will have in training the centres’ staff as career services providers, preparing students effectively for employers’ hiring needs and enhancing their employability. I wish to thank the American people for making these career development centres possible through the funding and support of USAID.”
Latorraca said: “In its 80-year history, Alexandria University has been a pioneer in education in the region, and it continues to make strides providing resources and opportunities to its students. This includes hosting two centres for career development that will benefit its 62,000 students in the Faculties of Engineering and Commerce.”
“Students at these two centres will benefit from linkages between the university and Alexandria’s thriving commercial and engineering sectors. This model will eventually reach over 70 percent of Egypt’s public university students as part of this $20.8 million initiative – including the students at Alexandria University,” she added.
Emphasising the key role of the two centres in preparing the students for the labour market requirements, El-Kordi pointed out, “The centres present an additional link for Alexandria University with the industry and will keep up-to-date with the competencies that our graduates should have to satisfy job market needs. The range of career services, employability and entrepreneurial skills trainings that the centres provide will increase our students’ competitiveness in landing employment opportunities.”
“We are proud to host a university career development centre at the Faculty of Engineering and provide our students with the career management and soft skills that will help facilitate their transition to the working world,” said Said Allam, dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Alexandria University.
The University Centres for Career Development Project aims to give professional career guidance and a range of employability skills trainings free of charge to help universities bridge the gap between university educational outcomes and industry needs. It will facilitate students’ job searches through employment fairs and job announcements, and will support students’ entrepreneurial interests through relevant training.
These centres will provide students with career mentoring and training in skills, including leadership, problem solving, critical thinking, and entrepreneurship to increase their chances of employment. Students and alumni also benefit from networking resources and linkages between universities and the private sector. The centres also track evolving labour market needs to help inform university curricula.