With the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the American University in Cairo (AUC) celebrated the opening of the Aswan University Centre for Career Development (UCCD) on 16 January.
The inauguration of Aswan University Centre for Career Development was attended by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, USAID/Egypt Mission Director Sherry F. Carlin, AUC President Francis Ricciardone, AUC Counsellor Ashraf Hatem, Governor of Aswan Ashraf Attia, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Universities Mohamed Lotaief and Aswan University President Ahmed Ghallab.
The University Centres for Career Development project aims to provide career guidance, employability skills and technical training to bridge the gap between the outputs of university education and the needs of the labour market. The UCCD project also helps students find job opportunities or create their own jobs through entrepreneurial initiatives.
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said in his speech at the inauguration of the centre, “The UCCD centres are of great importance, not only in Egypt but all over the world as there is a gap between labour market needs and academic education.”
The UCCD, through partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), will identify gaps in the local markets to help the universities integrate them in their curricula. Abdel-Ghaffar added that these studies can be complemented with more specialised professional studies to map the needs of the Egyptian labour market.
AUC President Francis Ricciardone said: “I am proud to join Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar and presidents of Egyptian universities today in celebrating the opening of Aswan UCCD. We are pleased to work in partnership with Egypt's national universities in the UCCD project, which extends from Aswan to Alexandria. This project enhances the employability of university graduates, creates communication channels between the universities and the labour market, and thus contributes to the Egyptian economy. UCCD project is another milestone in AUC’s 100 years of service to Egypt. I thank the USAID who made this project possible, as a gift from the American people.”
“The newly-born Aswan University is taking great steps towards its rightful place among the best universities not only in Egypt but also globally,” said Aswan University president Ahmed Ghallab.
The project aims to empower around 1 million students from public universities by providing career guidance, employability and entrepreneurial skills to increase graduates’ competitiveness through 21 UCCDs in 14 universities in Greater Cairo, the Delta and Upper Egypt. The UCCDs were launched in the past months and are operating in the universities of Minya, Beni Sueif, Alexandria, Sadat, Mansura, Sohag, Zagazig and Menoufiya.
Since the project began two years ago, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, USAID, the AUC, and numerous public university partners have opened 14 Career Centres at 10 universities that have already benefited 45,000 students across Egypt.
“It’s an honour to celebrate the opening of Aswan University’s Centre for Career Development,” said mission director Sherry F. Carlin. “The Career Centre will increase the university’s capacity to serve thousands of young Egyptians who are looking to turn academic achievement into a successful career and make important contributions to Egypt’s future.”
In Aswan, Carlin also visited a USAID-supported community centre that is promoting voluntary family planning methods in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population in response to Egypt's rapid population growth.
During her visit, Carlin witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between USAID and the Syndicate of Pharmacists in Aswan that will establish regular trainings in family planning topics for private sector pharmacists.