Working Toward a Better Life
Aslanbek, who also chairs Urus-Martan’s chamber of commerce, has joined forces with the International Rescue Committee to provide employment opportunities to these young men. He happily offers up space in his factory for students in the IRC’s vocational training program to practice what they learn in the classroom. Many business owners might balk at the idea of unemployed young men let loose on their factory floor. But Aslanbek saw the program as a win/win situation “We really need skilled young people like these guys,” he says. “There’s so much demand for their skills. If they have nothing to do, it becomes a problem for the community.”
Practice Makes Perfect
Aslanbek introduces Abadi, Shamil, Islam and Magomed, shy young men who, after leaving school, found themselves with no prospects for work or further education. When they found out about the classes offered by IRC and its partner, Patriot, they applied and landed places in the construction course.
These four men, along with 11 other classmates, spent over two months learning how to lay tiles, install windows and build walls, as well as how to construct the kiosks used by many small traders. But as their tutor, Vakha Arsanov, explains, students can learn only so much in the classroom. It is vital that students gain practical experience, he says as he shows the floor in Aslanbek’s factory where his students practice. The floor begins uneven and bumpy, but gradually becomes flat and square—a professional job.
The Importance of Being Employed
With reconstruction in Chechnya moving ahead, the business community is crying out for more such hands-on training, according to Svetlana Tukaeva, IRC’s vocational training program manager. The focus on practical skills makes all the difference, says Svetlana, who points out that graduates from the IRC construction course are in great demand.
In fact, Vakha is so impressed with the progress of his former students that he has hired them to work on his own jobs. Likewise, Aslanbek has recommended the graduates to customers buying building supplies at the factory. The crew has already completed two jobs in the local area.
Word of mouth is the best advertising in the construction business, says Vakha. As their reputation grows, Abadi, Shamil, Islam, Magomed and their fellow graduates no doubt will get more and more work—and a real start in life, which will help Chechnya move forward in its recovery.
Related Story: With entrepreneurial spirit, a flair for giving manicures, and help from the IRC, one young woman in the war-ravaged republic of Chechnya has found a way to lift herself and her family out of poverty.