Go to the end to see information about a UK pilot initiative targeted at 16-17 year olds
The Taqaddam Project
Taqaddam is a Life Skills programme for young people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Taqaddam, Arabic for ‘moving forward’ supports young people to move forward with confidence into the future with the skills they need to flourish in life, work and society.
Taqaddam helps develop the character strengths and soft skills they need to flourish in life and work.
We want students to leave the programme with:
- Increased self-awareness
- Greater sense of confidence in themselves and their future
- Increased capacity for creativity, critical thinking and collaboration
- Greater confidence and capacity for social leadership and action
- Greater ownership, skills and tools for ongoing personal development
How does it work?
The programme has four main components:
Student workshops – bringing together groups of up to 80 students from across the country, led by facilitators from the UK and the MENA region
Life skills classes – delivered in schools by teachers who are trained and supported by the Taqaddam team
Personal Missions – self-directed missions in the Taqaddam Handbook prompting action, reflection and connection
Team projects – students designing and piloting social action ideas and presenting them at an annual national showcase event, ‘Make It Happen’.
These values underpin the way we work and which we expect all partners, facilitators and participants to adhere to.
- Youth-centred– Putting the outcomes for students at the heart of the work, and being accountable to them and responding to their needs
- Respecting and valuing diversity– Building relationships between young people and demonstrating the value of diversity
- Child rights– A commitment to the Rights of the Child, in particular the right for all young people to have a say and be heard
- Equity– Actively promoting the equal participation of all students, particularly young women
- Sustainable development– A commitment to and promotion of the Global Goals and sustainability. The project has so far reached over 12,000 young people and been implemented in 10 countries over the last 5 years: Bahrain, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and the UK.
There is broad recognition that formal education systems are not fully preparing young people for life beyond the classroom, amongst policy-makers, researchers, educators, employers and young people themselves. Many students are graduating without the competencies and ‘soft skills’ that help them succeed in further education and in the workplace, and without the social and emotional skills to build lasting personal and community relationships.
Meanwhile, the world is changing, and at an accelerating pace. New technologies and industries are changing the way the world operates. Artificial intelligence and automation are raising questions about the future of work, social media is changing the way we connect, and the boundary between the online and offline worlds is increasingly blurred. The climate crisis, resource depletion and growing inequalities mean that business as usual is no longer an option. Social, political and environmental uncertainty is the norm and this brings additional challenges to young people and to education systems that struggle to adapt.
This changing world is also energising a new and socially engaged generation that is driving innovation and creativity and Taqaddam is on the forefront of life skills education, enabling young people to lead the way.
What do you mean by ‘life skills’?
Life skills are simply: all the skills we need to make the most of life. Different combinations of these life skills are also referred to as soft skills or 21st Century Skills
In Taqaddam, we focus on some of the personal and interpersonal attitudes and abilities that play a critical role in the ability to learn, connect and adapt to make the most of life’s opportunities. Together with greater self-awareness, a connection with their life skills supports young people to engage with the world more confidently and in a deeper and more meaningful way.
We take a holistic approach, but explore three life skills in greater depth: creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. These ‘3Cs’ have been prioritised because they are recognised as central to personal well-being, employability and positive engagement in society. They are also interconnected with, and provide effective entry points into, many other life skills.
- Critical Thinking– the ability to analyse and evaluate the world in order to form judgements, develop ideas and think for yourself.
- Creativity– using the imagination to explore the world in new ways, create something original and express yourself.
- Collaboration– connecting effectively with others and using the skills and abilities of multiple people towards a common purpose.
Why Life Skills?
Life skills have been proven to positively impact young people’s personal, professional and community lives.
Life Skills are both crucial to a person’s wellbeing and have had a demonstrated positive effect on education, employability and labour market outcomes.
However, there is broad recognition that formal education systems in MENA are not fully preparing young people for life beyond the classroom. Many students are graduating without the competencies and ‘soft skills’ required to succeed in further education and in the workplace.
An independent external evaluation in 2019 gathered evidence of outcomes from young people, teachers, parents, principals, facilitators and state officials over the last 4 years. It found that Taqaddam was having a positive impact on many core strengths and skills related to young people’s personal lives, position in society and future work prospects.
- Unique: One of few initiatives focusing on soft skills, blending formal and non-formal education and addressing young people’s social as well as personal development
- Relevant: Taqaddam’s outcomes respond to clear need and demand, and to a demographic window of opportunity
- Sustainable:Taqaddam is a deeply personal initiative that carries lifelong value for students and teachers
- Innovative:Through pioneering innovative approaches, Taqaddam is helping to shape the life skills conversation in the MENA region.
Taqaddam is sponsored and produced by the British Council and HSBC Middle East.
The British Council holds direct relationships with Ministries and education providers in the countries where they are situated. The British Council forged the partnership with HSBC, our funder, to create Taqaddam.
Melanie Relton, Director of Skills and Education in the MENA region says: ‘Taqaddam aligns to the core of the British Council’s cultural relations vision of creating positive life outcomes for individuals, particularly young people, by giving them the skills for work and life. It makes economic and social sense for us to invest in Taqaddam, as social and economic changes can only be achieved through investment and expanding opportunities for young people.’
Your British Council Country Team will liaise and support you through Taqaddam. You will meet members of the team at the teacher briefing, the teacher training and the workshops. British Council Country Teams may also visit your school to support you with your Taqaddam classes.
HSBC Middle East
HSBC is Taqaddam’s funding partner. Its commitment to helping young people reach their potential has led to a wide range of community investment programmes.
Sabrin Rahman, head of corporate sustainability for the MENA region at HSBC, said: “We helped devise the Taqaddam concept as we felt there was a disconnect between what skills were on offer in the marketplace and what employers were looking for. Traditional educational systems, especially public schooling, just do not focus on the softer and more transferable skills that are needed for the workplace of the future.”
Volunteers from HSBC take a hands-on approach to Taqaddam. They attend the workshops and the Make It Happen! event, support the running of the programme, present short talks about using life skills in the workplace, and give advice and guidance to students.
For Further Information
The above provides an overview of the Taqaddam Initiative – visit the website for additional information including details of their activity library, previous webinars, online workshops, life skills app and resources that have been developed for young people, teachers, parents. Further details about the May 2021 event to follow – closing date 25 April 2021.
Below is some information about a UK pilot initiative targeted at 16-17 year olds
Centre for International Learning & Leadership (CILL) is organising a life skills programme for young people in the UK, Taqadam UK, on behalf of the British Council. It is a fantastic opportunity for young people aged 16-17 (school year 12) to join the British Council’s “Taqaddam” UK pilot programme, which develops life skills, social action and intercultural learning through a series of online workshops and fun, real-life “missions”, working together with young people from Middle Eastern countries.
The closing date for applications is 25th April, now extended to Tuesday 27th April) and the project will be delivered during May. There will be a pre-selection session on Friday 30th April. The main purpose of this is to test participants’ commitment as they want to select people who will be involved in the whole programme.
Attached the outline timetable, which will give an idea of the time commitment. The “missions” are not timed but they will be simple and achievable tasks which can be done at home or school or youth setting, “on the go” so to speak.
They would be happy to consider young people working in a group as well as individuals. The online sessions, will be run by one of the British Council’s experienced trainers together with one or more of CILL facilitators, which may vary from session to session.
They would prefer young people to attend on their own as this is part of the learning process and haven’t envisaged the direct involvement of youth workers/leaders. However there will be informal online support sessions, which they could attend. If there is a requirement for a youth worker to accompany them, British Council could be asked to accommodate either as an observer or with a specific role.
Safeguarding will be under the British Council’s policies but CILL will also apply their own and staff will work to their code of conduct (can be provided if required). All online activities will be supervised including breakout groups. Trainers are appointed by the British Council; additional facilitation is by members of CILL’s team. Parental consent will be required for participation.
There will be a British Council certificate on successful completion of the course and they are hoping to use digital badges to enable young people to keep a simple record of learning.
The BC Taqaddam website is here: https://taqaddam.britishcouncil.org – please bear in mind this is aimed at a Middle Eastern audience, which is where the programme originated. And this programme is a UK Pilot Initiative.
Application form is https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TaqaddamUK
Taqaddam / CILL Programme
|16 Apr – 30 Apr||Recruitment
5 – 6.30 pm
|1||Tue 4 May
5 – 7pm
|Workshop 1: ‘My Life’||2 hours|
|My Life Missions
|Fri 7 May
5 – 7pm
|Workshop 2: ‘My Life Skills’||2 hours|
|My Life Skills Missions
|2||Mon 10 May
5 – 7pm
|Workshop 3: ‘Make it Happen’||2 hours|
|Support session – setting up and supporting teams
|45 – 60 mins|
|Make it Happen team work
5 – 7pm
|Workshop: 4: Moving Forward’||2 hours|
|Support session & Make it Happen check-in
|30 – 45 mins|
|Sat 22 May
11 – 12.30
|UK / MENA workshop: My Life and My Life Skills||1.5 hours|
|4||Tue 25 May
5 – 7pm
|Make it Happen celebration event
|Final support session – review
|Sat 29 May
11 – 12.30
|UK / MENA workshop: Make it Happen and Moving Forward