Monday, June 3, 2013

Job Skills Workshops Conclusion

This past weekend, Justin and I, along with our two Moroccan counterparts Abdellah and Badr and new Peace Corps Volunteer Tim, presented certificates to 25 Moroccan youth who completed our month-long "Vocational Skills for Moroccan Youth" training workshops. 

Workshop participants with us and our counterparts

Participants attended 7 workshops in total, ranging from writing a CV, preparing a "Demande d'Emploi" or "Lettre de Motivation" (the Moroccan equivalents for our cover letters), interviewing, job search and social media skills, entrepreneurship, financial management, and career planning/goal setting. Participants completed homework assignments including making a CV, writing a cover letter, and even doing a mock interview.

Here, I'm talking about needs and wants, related to financial management.

When Justin and I first began the process of developing these workshops with Abdellah and Badr, we were blown away by how little education students receive here on goal setting or potential career/educational paths and what it takes to realize their potential. We've been told that there's one person in our community who is like a guidance counselor and visits each of the high schools once a year, gives a long-winded speech to students, and leaves without spending individual time or taking questions. Many students end up on a career path based on what a family member or friend does because they don't have a sense of what opportunities are out there, and no one has ever encouraged them to think about their interests and pursue them. Then, when it comes time to look for jobs, not only do many students not know how to create a good CV but many also lack the knowledge of where or how to look for jobs or the self-confidence to express themselves to a company.

Justin in action! He is teaching about the qualities of a successful person.

For our final session, we gave out certificates, had a small party, and asked participants to fill out evaluations about their experiences in the workshops. The responses were overwhelmingly positive. Not only did participants highlight tangible new skills that they learned in the workshops, but they also noted some unexpected new qualities that they gained: self-confidence, motivation, and leadership. One participant said that in the interview she/he "learned how to be me in that moment." Another participant learned that he/she "could be a manager, not just a worker." And another participant told us about learning "how to reach my dreams, how to have a will for success, and how to be an accomplished person." Many participants said that the mock interview was one of their greatest experiences. For many it was their first interview - two participants were so nervous that they actually walked out before the interview! Their peers were able to get them to come back in; the group as a whole was really supportive and the mock interviews presented a great opportunity to learn how to express themselves in a safe and comfortable space.

The workshop team! 

Next week, we'll be going to Marrakech to share the program with other Peace Corps Volunteers. We hope that we can encourage others to replicate the workshops in their communities, and maybe this will be one of the legacies that we can leave behind here. For us, it was one of our last big projects and it was great to end things on such a high note. 

A signed banner with all participant names.

A big shout out and special thanks to Abdellah and Badr, who were the primary facilitators and worked with us in every step of the planning process, and without whom we could NEVER have pulled this off.


  1. As someone who has made a career out of interviewing and reading resumes and cover letters, I especially loved this post! What a great idea for a workshop and glad it was a success!

    Miss you guys and see you soon enough!

    Carolyn Z

  2. Bravo! As a long-term career counselor, I applaud you for your initiative and the results! Keep up the good work!

    Louise G (friend of Arlene Weinrich)

  3. Thank you Louise and Carolyn for your comments!! We could never have done all of this without the support of everyone back home :)