Big aspirations but little guidance

28th March 2014 at 00:00
Arabs in Israel need better advice and opportunities, study shows

New research has prompted calls for Israel to put a greater emphasis on vocational education and careers guidance.

The British Council study reveals that many young Arab people in the state aspire to high-status jobs in areas such as medicine and law. But proportionally fewer Arabs make it to university than their Jewish counterparts, meaning that they are excluded from these roles.

The discrepancy is partly because of the need for fluent Hebrew and good English, and partly because of cultural and transport issues, the report says. There is also a lack of careers advice on other employment options, it adds.

Of the 499 surveyed 15- to 18-year-olds, 70 per cent felt optimistic about their futures, according to Marc Bayliss of Worcester Research, which was commissioned to carry out the study. But their parents were their main source of information on how to find further education or work, he said.

"Generally, young people from the Arab community feel poorly prepared for the world of work by their school or educational establishment," he added. "There was very little discussion about options other than university.

"Careers advice is not necessarily a priority for schools. They are judged on grades and academic achievement."

Inas Said, chief executive of Alfanar, which runs 21 employment centres in Arab towns and is undertaking a project to deliver careers guidance in schools, said: "Israeli industry does not find the right tools to access the workforce in the Arab community. We are providing potential employees with vocational training necessary to succeed in their jobs. The challenge is big. We need more systematic vocational training."

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