January 11, 2015, Cairo – The American University in Cairo (AUC) and Ain Shams University (ASU) celebrated yesterday the official inauguration of two Employability and Career Development Centers (ECDC) – one at ASU main campus and the second at ASU Faculty of Engineering. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the project commenced in June 2012 and is expected to end in May 2015 during which AUC’s Career Center utilized funds and allocated space in Suez Canal, Assiut and Ain Shams universities to inaugurate employability and career development centers that replicate AUC’s Career Center model. Career Center professionals, who are licensed from the National Career Development Association in the United States, worked closely with these institutions to furnish the ECDCs, as well as recruit, train and certify career-development facilitators. They also built ECDC staff capacity by offering on-the-job training on how to run a career center, organize employment events and fairs, as well as create and coordinate career and employment activities.The project’s key goal is to avail career guidance and employability skills to public university students to equip them with the right skills for the world of work. The vision is to take an active role in developing a generation of career-educated graduates who possess the right skills for today’s job market and bridge the current gap between education and employment needs.
The ceremony was inaugurated by Lisa Anderson, AUC president and Hussein Eissa, ASU president and attended by Ashraf Hatem, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Universities; Yasser Sakr, president of Helwan University and Ali Shams El Din, president of Benha University.
From AUC, attendees included Mahmoud El Gamal, provost, Khaled Dahawy, vice president for student affairs and Dina Riad, director of Office of Sponsored Programs. The AUC Career Center was represented by Maha Guindi, executive director and Maha Fakhry, director, recruitment and employer relations.
The ASU delegation included Mohammed El-Tokhey, vice president for student affairs, Ali Abd-El-Aziz, vice president for graduate studies and research, Abdel Wahab Ezzat, vice president for community service and environmental development and Ayman Ashour, dean of Faculty of Engineering.
“We are proud of the fruitful collaboration between AUC and ASU that resulted in the establishment of two employability and career development centers,” said Anderson. “AUC is keen to be of service to the Egyptian community and is glad to share its expertise in the area of career guidance to help ASU students acquire the career planning, job-search and soft skills that would help them land satisfactory employment.”
To date, more than 2000 students have completed employability skills training. The trainings, which are called “Employability Skills Building (ESB),” are unique to Ain Shams University’s faculty of engineering ECDC and are offered in addition to the other typical services, such as career planning, interviewing skills, resume writing, internship programs and employment fairs. The center also provides additional services, including English classes, business development courses and corporate-sponsored trainings.
“In the ECDC project, AUC's Career Center is investing its 24 years of experience in career education in building the capacities of career guidance professionals at various Egyptian universities to support their students throughout the career planning process,” said Guindi. “By supplying students with basic job-search skills, as well as interview and résumé-building tips, we are ensuring that they are leaving university with expertise that will benefit them for life.”
“Youth in Egypt are generally able to attain adequate levels of education,” said Guindi. “However, many of them lack the key job-search and soft skills. The ultimate goal of the ECDC project is to empower the Egyptian youths with the required employability skills and career management tools that would allow them to land satisfactory employment and bridge the gap towards the job market employment needs."