Youth in Focus: An Interview with Iyad F.

Iyad F. is from Rommaneh, a village outside of Jenin. He graduated from An Najah National University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Media and Journalism.


What sparked your interest in TYO's Youth Service Learning Program? How did you hear about TYO?

I heard about TYO’s Youth Service Learning program through an announcement at the graduate counseling office at the university. I took a look at the website and immediately was interested in TYO’s work, particularly what they offer for youth in terms of work experience and employability training. I was also very interested in working alongside native English language speakers to improve my English, so I decided to apply. I had never volunteered with an NGO before, so I was not sure what to expect.

What are your career goals, and how do you think volunteering at TYO will help you reach those?

I hope to be a TV or radio announcer or work in PR for a Palestinian company. Some would ask what working with children has to do with becoming a TV or radio announcer. To that, I would say that working with children has taught me incredibly important life skills that will help me at any job -- patience when facing challenges, communication skills, leadership -- the list goes on. It has definitely taught me patience in the face of very challenging and tiring work. I have also learned how to separate my personal life from my work in order to be more productive. Most of all, I feel empowered by the communication and leadership skills I have gained through working in the classroom, and those skills are very important in Public Relations.

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

A major challenge we face is that the education system and our universities do not take into consideration market needs and encourage students to pursue those fields. Particularly at the university level, too much focus is put on registering a large number of students without putting thought and resources to the quality of education we are receiving; in a way, the approach is more like one of a business than an educational institution. The result is that students graduate and are shocked  that they cannot compete in the job market because we do have practical work skills.

What do you think your generation can do to overcome that challenge?

I hope the change will come from universities at an institutional level, but until then, we as youth need to pursue work experiences – whether paid or volunteering – before we graduate in order to build our experience. Personally, I wish I had heard about TYO earlier in my college career, because I have gained many skills and practical work experience in my first session here.

If there was one skill you wish you had (English, IT, etc.) what would it be and why?

English, one hundred percent. Neither in school nor in university did we learn English properly. I have seen how much stronger the TYO staff’s English is compared to ours, and how beneficial it is for their work.

- Interviewed by Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator