HTU: creating opportunities rather than waiting for them to come

- Dr.Bassam Btoush
- Translated and edited by Areej Abuqudairi


One year after it was launched, Al Hussein Technical University (HTU) has shown its commitment to encountering problems facing young Jordanians, with unemployment at the forefront. The university strives to provide an exceptional role model of a Jordanian university by offering quality technical and applied education and dedicating its efforts towards supporting the national development goals.   
HTU was established as an initiative by the young Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, which shows his commitment to empowering young Jordanians.  The university falls under the umbrella of the Crown Prince foundation as a private non-profit university. 
The university’s mission is in line with the National Strategy for Human Resources which calls for both national efforts towards encouraging technical and vocational training and for making a quantum leap in education policies to better serve the national sustainable development goals. 
Since it was launched, HTU has shown its commitment to creating a unique modern model drawing on both international experiences in applied and technical education and the Jordanian experience in vocational training. This model also aims to help Jordan to overcome its current economic and social challenges. 
Out of its belief that unemployment is the greatest challenge the country is facing, HTU is dedicated to producing Jordanian graduates qualified for the Industrial and Manufacturing sectors; supporting entrepreneurship and innovation; and empowering them to set up their own small businesses and start-ups.
By focusing on applied and technical education, HTU aims to equip its graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge to prepare them for the labour market. Instead of relying on traditional methods, HTU’s approach relies on augmenting the theoretical aspect of learning with practice by offering the students an opportunity of a hands on experience at the university’s specialized labs in the fields of engineering and computer science. In addition, students are required to do a year-long internship in their fields.  The university offers courses on soft (life skills) to equip its graduates with communication and leadership skills required to succeed. 
HTU also targets unemployed young graduates in telecommunication, energy and computer engineering, with a skills development programme to revive their skills. The four month’s long programme offers participants an opportunity for a hands on application of technical skills related to their field as well as improve their English and life skills. 
Last year, the university implemented four skills development programmes in cooperation with leading national and international companies targeting unemployed graduates such as a training programme on G4 in cooperation with Huawei, operating and maintaining solar energy systems in cooperation with Firas Balasmah company for renewable energy, information technology with Cisco Estarta company; and a training on technical support for airports in cooperation with SITA company. 
By participating in these training programmes, young people did not only build their skills but also were able to network and take jobs with leading national and international companies. 
In order to foster an environment of innovation and creativity, the university established the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Excellence (CIEE). The center offers a platform for students to interact with and learn from startups and small businesses. The center also facilitates strong partnerships between the university and representatives from different sectors nationally and internationally. 
In addition, the university provides incubators on campus for approximately fifteen emerging and start-up projects that were created by young Jordanians in the fields of technology, geometric design, solar energy, environmental behavior, health care; and artificial intelligence. 
HTU’s first Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IE) Bootcamp hosted twenty young Jordanians who have ideas and ambitions to start their own projects. The five weeks programme is designed to build young entrepreneurs skills and capacities to start their own companies and emerging projects in technology and manufacturing. Young people learn how to transform their ideas into projects on the ground; fundraising skills and how to overcoming any challenges or obstacles they might face. 
There is no doubt, that these initiatives and efforts led by HTU contributing to qualifying young Jordanians to compete for available jobs nationally, regionally and internationally. They are also creating a new generation of proactive young people who will not wait for the government to create jobs. Instead, young Jordanians will have the skills to compete for jobs in the private sector and to enter the labour market through their own self-initiated businesses and projects. 
HTU makes a great role model to be follow nationally. Such model can only be achieved through effective partnership between the private and public sector and strong cooperation between formal institutions and civil society organizations to promote a culture of creating opportunities instead of waiting for them to happen.