Finding a job in Morocco can be tough, especially as a young adult freshly out of school and looking for career opportunities.
For Badr Boukhoubza, a 25-year-old looking to make a career move in the tourism industry, and Safae Garda Zerouali, a 20-year-old vocational training student about to start her job search, the USAID Career Center came into their lives at the right time.
“I did not land at the Hilton Hotel by chance,” said Badr, now a room service supervisor at Hilton Hotel in Tangier City Center. “[I got this] position not only due to my skills and experience, but also the support of Career Center in Tangier.”
Badr’s story of joining Hilton started when USAID’s Career Center in Tangier held recruitment days with Hilton Hotels. More than 1,000 young people snagged interviews with Hilton’s local human resources team. After his initial interview, Badr was asked to come back for a follow-up interview a few days later. To prepare, he reached out to Career Center for guidance.
“I carefully followed the interview preparation workshop,” he explained. “I learned a lot of things that might seem obvious and yet I did not know. For example, I learned that you should not just highlight your qualities, but also talk about shortcomings while also showing you can handle them in the workplace. I was also briefed on the right behavior, the appropriate language to use and many other things. All this made me feel more comfortable during my second interview and definitely helped me land the job.”
The USAID Career Center program supports youth like Badr in Tangier, Casablanca and Marrakech, and there is also a national website: www.careercenter.ma.
Youth can sign up for workshops on a variety of topics and individual counseling sessions. And USAID has lined up partners from the private sector like Hilton Hotels to participate.
Through this partnership, Badr was able to find the opportunity he was looking for.
“I thank Career Center, because this training still serves me in my daily work. As a supervisor, I manage a small team and each day I must interact and speak not only to my team and my own supervisors, but also and most importantly to our customers.”
Safae was one of several vocational students in Tangier to use Career Center to prepare for interviews with luxury retailer Aksal Group.
“Throughout my studies, I had two-part time jobs. My days were long and tiring, In order to graduate I completed an internship…then I realized that I needed to improve my profile to find and keep a good job. I visited USAID’s Career Center and participated in soft skills workshops, such as ‘setting professional objective,’, ‘resume and cover letter correction,’ and ‘interview preparation.’ Thanks to Career Center, I have built my confidence and hope [for the future]. I am now very happy I was selected to be a sales counselor with one of the Aksal Group’s brands, Massimo Dutti. I have just completed a training provided by the company prior to the opening of the store, and I just can’t wait to start.”
Badr and Safae are two of the more than 47,000 youth who have benefitted from Career Center since this USAID-funded program launched in March 2015.
Services range from self-diagnostic sessions that help youth reflect on personal and professional development, to strength and skills assessments that improve workplace matches. In addition, individual counseling, soft skills workshops and networking/recruitment events with the private sector are also on the menu.
To date, 60 private organizations have partnered with Career Center to help smooth the transition from education to employment for Morocco’s next generation of workers.
Badr said his experience with Career Center has strongly impacted his plans for the future: “One day I would like to become a hotel manager or even open my own restaurant. I am only at the beginning of my career, and there is still a long way to go, I understand now how necessary it is to prepare yourself to achieve specific professional objectives.”
After her engagement with Career Center, Safae is re-thinking her future goals: “I hope that one day I could become a trainer and help others find their own way in the fierce world of work.”
About the Author
Hind Elazhari is a young Moroccan photographer and storyteller working on the USAID Career Center team. Stay up-to-date on the USAID Career Center and all news from USAID’s mission in Morocco @USAIDMorocco.