Youth in Focus: An Interview with Rakan Dawood

Rakan shows a child how to use blocks in Core AM Rakan Dawood is from Beita village in Nablus and is a third-year student at An Najah National University studying accounting.

What made you interested in STEP!?

I enrolled in the program at TYO because I want to better my employment skills. The international setting at TYO allows me to practice my communication skills with people from different cultures and exposes me to new ideas I wouldn't otherwise be presented with. I’m also really interested in developing my leadership abilities. I’ve been volunteering at TYO since 2008 and keep coming back because I feel the program really adds to my skills. Aside from gaining skills to benefit my own future, I also really enjoy volunteering at TYO because it gives me the opportunity to serve my community.

Have you volunteered before, just heard about it?

I’ve been volunteering with various organizations since I was 14 years old (about 10 years ago). I initially heard about TYO through my friends at the university and was very interested in the range of programs.

What do you hope to do as a career and how do you think this will help you?

My university major is accounting. Ultimately I would like to work in the capacity of an Accounting Manager or Director. The experience I get at TYO is helping to contribute to my long-term goals by giving me the leadership skills I need to succeed. I really appreciate the amount of time TYO spends on training volunteers to ensure we are prepared both for our roles as volunteers as well as for the competitive job market.

What is the greatest challenge for youth like you in the current labor market?

Many institutions require many years of work experience before they select the employee and as recent graduates simply don't have the experience required to find employment. This is a very frustrating challenge. I believe that voluntary work is an experience adds to your CV, but not all institutions accept it as legitimate experience towards employment.

Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?

I can see myself in 5 years working in the field of accounting in Dubai. Ideally I could find a job in Palestine when I graduate, but I’m not sure as unfortunately there is no way to guarantee your future in Palestine. Regardless, I plan to return to Palestine and bring the skills I hope to develop abroad.

Interview conducted by Volunteer Coordinator, Ruba

This program – as part of Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!) – is sponsored in part by the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.