Around the world, experienced Passport to Success® (PTS) trainers like Amer Khalaf and Mayada Atallah—both from Palestine—report the positive effects of life skills training, not only for their students, but also for themselves. 

Amer Khalaf is no novice when it comes to working with youth—he’s been a teacher since 1997. Currently, Amer is a certified PTS trainer providing life skills and work readiness training to young people at the Lutheran World Federation Vocational Training Center in Ramallah. Amer has noticed a positive change in both his own training style and in the motivation levels of his students.

Prior to the introduction of PTS, Amer says that his students seemed to lack a sense of direction and purpose, believing that no matter how hard they worked, they would not be taken seriously by employers in the local labor market. “I felt their frustration and their desire to move forward on their career paths," Amer says. "That made me so determined to help them achieve this.”

Amer used PTS and its interactive methodology to connect with his students and to stress the importance of life skills in gaining meaningful employment. As time passed, he began to notice the positive changes in his students’ general demeanor and enthusiasm. "It was heartwarming," he shared, "to see my students excited to practice what they learned in the program and go on to thrive in their careers.”

As beneficial as the experience was to his students, it was also a turning point in his life and career. Amer credits PTS for improving his training skills, particularly in time management, conflict resolution, and allowing for a healthy dialogue with students. His instruction style now places an emphasis on embracing the differences among his students and making sure that each individual student is heard, seen, and supported.

Mayada Atallah, a certified PTS trainer from Nablus, Palestine, echoes this sentiment. She says the program has been crucial to her professional growth and that PTS has helped her become a more successful and creative trainer. Her instruction style is more youth-focused now, she observes, and when delivering lessons to her students she tries to learn more about them and their perspectives.

Through her PTS certification program, Mayada gained the facilitation skills needed to encourage self-expression, which has helped to create a more dynamic and entertaining environment for students to learn and buy-in to the program’s objectives. “Some of my female students want to open their own businesses," Mayada says. "When I see my students express their aspirations and dreams, I know I did my job well.”

Both Amer and Mayada will continue training youth in PTS, learning and growing alongside their students.

Narmeen Fayyaleh is an IYF Program Manager in Palestine. Jana Al Juneidi, Project Coordinator at IYF partner Center for Youth Economic Empowerment, contributed interview help.