In January 2015, the British Council’s first symposium on employability, skills and opportunities for young people in MENA was launched in collaboration with the League of Arab States as a response to growing unemployment levels in MENA.

Unemployment levels have reached 27% in the Middle East and 29% in North Africa, twice the global average. This shortage of opportunity for young people has a high economic cost; equally it has a profound impact on the young people themselves and the cultural and social fabric of communities and wider societies. 

We know that demand for English is rising rapidly in the region but not enough about the impact this trend has on employability directly. As a result we commissioned research to better understand the links between English and employability. Today, we are happy to be able to share the results of our research, The Relationship between English & Employability in MENA.

The main outcomes of this research show that it is not only English, but multilingualism that improves young peoples’ employability and allows societies to prosper. The second important find is that many public English language support programmes in MENA are not achieving the desired improvement in English language attainment levels because many of the initiatives deal with individual parts of the system, the teacher or the curriculum etc…, and not considering the whole through a holistic approach.

We would like to invite you to download, read and share this research widely.

The report contains the following sections:

Section 1: Context and situation: the challenge of promoting economic growth in MENA 

Section 2: The role of education in economic growth and employability 

Section 3: The role of English in MENA