YEP MED’s closing ceremony highlights the project’s significant achievements, including the adaptation of eight training courses, training 72 teachers, and conducting 161 courses that trained nearly 3,700 young people, the YEP MED Talent Programme, and the World Port Sustainability Program (WPSP) successful submission.
The YEP MED project, an innovative initiative aimed at empowering young people , particularly NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) and women, in the Mediterranean port and logistics sectors, successfully concluded its journey with the YEP MED final conference & Steering Committee held on July 24th – 25th, 2023, at the Steigenberger Hotel El Lessan in Damietta, Egypt.
The two-day event united delegates from partner organizations alongside individuals associated with collaborating institutions, YEP MED trainees, and companies. The opening session commenced with welcoming remarks from key figures such as Rear Admiral Ahmed Hawash, Chairman of Damietta Port Authority, and Mr. Eduard Rodés, the CEO of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport. The session continued with thought-provoking keynote addresses from prominent figures like Dr. Esmat AlKaradsheh, representing ENI CBC MED Programme, Admiral Dr. Refeeq Galal, Chairman of Damietta for Container Handling Co. (DCHC), Prof Ismail Abdel Ghafar Ismail Farag, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, which was presented on his behalf by Prof Akram Soliman Elselmy, and Rear Admiral Reda Ismail, Head of the Egyptian Maritime Sector.
The first session started with a presentation of YEP MED global results and YEP MED Talent by Mr. Eduard Rodés and Ms. Marta Miquel, respectively, shed light on the project’s significant achievements, which included adapting 8training courses, training 72 teachers, and conducting 161 training sessions. This resulted in the training of nearly 3,700 young individuals and women, with a remarkable 47% representation of women and 53% for men, contributing to gender balance in the workforce. The average participant age of thirty reflects the project’s focus on empowering young individuals at a crucial stage in their lives. Moreover, the project enabled approximately 1,100 internships and job placements, forging collaborations with over 250 companies across the seven countries represented. This was followed by a presentation made by Prof Akram Soliman Elslemy, YEP MED project manager at the Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) and Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology, which highlighted the project’s results that exceeded expectations on all levels. Each partner was then able to present their contributions, with speeches by Ms. Mar Marzo from Valenciaport Foundation (Spain), Mr. Rabieh Sabra, the president of the Beirut Chamber of Commerce in Lebanon, Mr. Jobrane Ben Mansour, OMMP (Tunisia), Mr. Husain Al-Safadi, the Chairman of the Aqaba Development Corporation through a remote connection) from Jordan. Finally, the testimonial of Dr. Ahmed Kamel – DCHC, Trainer at YEP MED Egypt closed this part of the event.
The second session discussed the future of the project and included a presentation about the newly created PLIKA (Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy) was presented by Orlando Reveco from Escola Europea – shedding light on the legacies that YEP MED will leave behind upon its completion. Then Prof. Alaa Morsy, YEP MED project coordinator at AASTMT, discussed the project’s sustainability and future. The Session ended up with the signing ceremony for the PLIKA initiative (Port Logistics International Knowledge Academy) – an organisation created out of the work done by the training institutes during the YEP MED project.
The conference ended with the testimonials from trainees of the YEP MED in Egypt and the awarding ceremony for the esteemed partners, YEP MED students, and local companies that participated in the trainees’ internship and employment.
On the second day of the gathering, the YEP MED Steering Committee took place. Partners were able to discuss the future of cooperation, project sustainability, and the project’s closure. The day began with a warm official welcome from Damietta Port Authority, followed by a welcome note from Mr. Eduard Rodés. During the Committee meeting, topics such as the progress of activities, reporting, and payments to partners were discussed by representatives from the Escola Europea and Mes Advocats (Paula Baltar, Reyes Durá, and Gerard Navarro respectively) provided updates on the project’s financial management and the handling of minor amendments.
Dr. Esmat Karadsheh from ENI CBC MED delivered an informative training session on project closure guidelines, and the participants engaged in an open discussion on the YEP MED Final Report guidelines and dates. The event concluded with closing remarks and a visit to Damietta Port, offering participants an opportunity to witness the tangible impact of the YEP MED project first-hand.
Eduard Rodes, the director of the Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport and lead beneficiary of the project, expressed his gratitude and pride during the opening ceremony: “ The YEP MED project stands as a testament to what can be achieved when we come together with a shared vision for education and youth empowerment.” As the project drew to a close, the YEP MED final conference & Steering Committee served as a moment of reflection, celebration, and inspiration for the future. The project has proven that together, a stronger and more interconnected society can be built, where challenges are overcome with determination and cooperation.