This year, more than 500 students from 23 schools in Cairo and Alexandria took part in the Taqaddam programme, delivered jointly by the British Council and HSBC Bank Egypt, to help equip them with key skills and enhance their employability.
The programme is designed to teach practical life skills to young people aged 15 and 16 and to equip them with a wide set of enduring personal and professional strengths and skills that will enable them to lead successful and fulfilling lives.
In January, the Egyptian students attended the first workshop phase. They participated in surveys and assessments to build an accurate picture of their character strengths, how they perceive intelligence and personal qualities, and the extent to which they feel they can positively impact their own lives, their school and their community.
After completing these surveys each student received a Personal Development Plan, outlining their journey for the following seven weeks. The young people taking part logged on to a tailor-made online resource that helped them to identify their personal strengths and abilities and areas where they need further development. Students built up their personal portfolios and earning badges as they progressed week by week.
The journey concluded with the “Make it Happen!” event where students showcased their learning from Taqaddam through devising an innovative idea to tackle a key global and social challenge that they identified within their communities.
Qawyma Six of October Language school won first place in the Cairo category and El Nasr Girls' College won first place in the Alexandria category a final competition held on 13 and 18 April in the two cities.
Winners of the competition were offered internships at the British Council in Egypt.
Salma Tawfik, Taqaddam ambassador, currently a student at the Faculty of Mass Communications, Cairo University, said, "The best thing that can be provided to normal human beings is that you don’t make them feel normal. Instead, make them feel extraordinary like superheroes who are able to step out of their comfort zone. That is what exactly ‘Taqaddam’ has introduced to me when I first joined two years ago, a journey which has irrevocably and profoundly affected the way I see myself."
At the end of one of the April events, British Council Egypt Director Elizabeth White said, "We are very proud to be working together with HSBC for the fourth year now, creating opportunities for this new generation of young Egyptians to acquire the skills they need for the future they aspire to. Through the Taqaddam training, hundreds of students in Egypt have the chance to think about what inspires them in their communities, to walk outside their comfort zones and experience new things, and to develop the confidence they need and deserve to have. It’s a joy to see them exploring their futures, and beginning to unleash their potential. I wish them so well."
Sabrin Rahman, regional head of sustainability (MENA) at HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, commented, "We are truly delighted to support Taqaddam’s youth development programme in Egypt. The Taqaddam programme has been adopted in different schools across seven countries in the region. The focus of the course is to equip young men and women with ‘soft skills’ such as confidence, assertiveness, decision-making, and the ability to stay safe and healthy. ‘These are essential in assisting young people to succeed today by giving them the skills for learning, life and work."
The Taqaddam programme is taking place across seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa.