This profile was prepared when Maged Hosny was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Maged is changing Egypt’s policies related to education and employment through a multifaceted career counseling system that addresses both the aptitudes and talents of youth and the needs of the increasingly global labor market. Maged’s career counseling system will transform the way young Egyptians prepare to enter the workforce. He helps young people to see and articulate their interests and capacities, and to judge how these can be best applied to the current needs of the job market. By involving relevant actors throughout society, Maged’s initiative will drastically reduce the current supply-and-demand mismatch phenomena of high unemployment on the one hand and super-saturation of workers in certain fields on the other; problems that are caused in large part by lack of proper information and preparation. Maged focuses on youth studying in high schools, technical institutes and universities, and those who have already entered the labor market. Participants in the program first undergo a comprehensive assessment of their professional skills, interests, and potential. Then, through a series of information sessions, they learn about local and global market needs, professional environments, and the skills they need to develop to successfully compete in their chosen field. Maged then provides job placement services, ensuring that participants find viable employment that is suitable to their skill set. This service is the last step to ensure that youth find a job, and therefore enter a career, that is the “right fit”: A field that the young employee is able and interested to contribute to, and where his or her services are in demand. Maged hopes to reduce the widespread, inflexible, and debilitating emphasis placed on fields that are considered prestigious, yet which cannot accommodate the current flood of young applicants. Although youth unemployment and the super-saturation of workers in certain fields are significant, widely recognized problems in Egypt, no one has sought to address them in a way that focuses on preventive measures to change the culture and system.