Our first 4 weeks in Palestine has certainly been a whirlwind romance. The Advancement Team have been working hard to get a variety of projects at Birzeit University moving, along with creating other links both at the University and further afield. This has naturally been enjoyable yet challenging, especially with the students strikes over tuition fees setting us back somewhat.
One project we are working on is with the newly founded Careers Service. Our main contact in the Careers Service (and only contact since she appears to run the department by herself), is a lady called Wojdan. Although a business teacher by trade, Wojdan has this year started The Careers Service, and it is a pleasure to work with someone who is so enthusiastic and passionate about helping young graduates find work, and insists on using us as much as possible.
The aim of our project is to equip students with better job prospects by running group and individual mentoring sessions. The sessions involve the discussion of a variety of topics such as job searching, CV building and interview practice, among other things that will increase their employability, and it has been a lot of fun planning an initial proposal with the meetings with Wojdan being enjoyably and productive.
Unfortunately, only 6 people turned up for our initial sessions. This was obviously disappointing after planning for a class of at least 30 students. This has really emphasised, to me at least, the difficulty faced with starting up a department from scratch. The challenges faced are not only concerned with making it known throughout the University that The Careers Service exists, but then convincing them to take an active role in ensuring young graduates reap the benefits such a service might provide. Despite this setback, we are determined to take new and better steps to market our mentoring sessions, and I have no doubt that we can help raise the profile of The Careers Service and in turn increase the employability of Birzeit University graduates.