The Digital Skills Training (DST) equips Syrian and Lebanese young adults (ages 16-35) from underserved communities with transferable digital skills promoting social, educational, and economic inclusion and preparing them for the growing online economy.
From a small pilot of 100 participants in 2016 taught at AUB in Beirut, launched with the support of the World Food Programme, DST has expanded to four training centers across Lebanon. By April 2021, we have reached over 2300 youth with basic and advanced digital skills training, linking graduates with opportunities for further education/training, internships, and work as appropriate. DST is led by AUB-CCECS and the curriculum is developed by experts from the AUB Computer Science Department
and the AUB English Department who supervise curriculum delivery by qualified local instructors.
The Digital Economy provides a wealth of opportunities beyond the limitations of physical location and formal educational credentials. We find that high tech occupations are a perfect solution for tapping into the potential of the countless capable youth whose education has been disrupted by financial vulnerability and/or displacement. Digital skills have become requisite for many jobs, even those outside of the tech industry, and there is a growing market for free-lancers and small businesses to provide virtual services at many skill levels from simple image annotation to more complex web design. Lebanon, specifically, is witnessing increased interest and investment in the tech and start-up sectors, as evidenced by the growing tech and start-up ecosystems.
Successes to date include project participants completing online “microwork" internships, finding better jobs or securing promotions due to their enhanced technological skill set, joining the project as teaching assistants, or continuing their education through university scholarships or other vocational training opportunities.
Funding for the project is provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development BMZ