We train unemployed young men and school-leavers in woodworking. The focus of the training is to create a route to employment, income and increased future prospects. The EBF programme includes a training system in the correct use of hand-tools, the safe operation of machinery, knowledge of different wood varieties and how to sustainably manage local resources and wood waste. Trainees from the programme go on to learn furniture-making and wood-carving skills in a dedicated workshop.
There is a high dropout rate from school in Morocco's rural areas with many of the Berber villages in the High Atlas Mountains almost entirely dependent on fruit tree agriculture. There are limited opportunities for employment, outside of casual labour working in the orchards. With few facilities for vocational training, a large number of young men leave their homes to seek work in the cities and generate an income.
EBF's programme provides a dedicated training facility in woodworking skills for up to eight trainees. The facility is open to young men of all abilities who stay for three years to master the basics of woodworking and develop their craft. A learn and earn model helps trainees to build ambition and self-esteem, developing a renewed sense of purpose and pride in their Berber identity.
The programme has been running for five years and provides two effective routes for trainees to generate an income: 1. Securing employment as a 'Njar' or carpenter and building customised units. 2. As an artisan woodworker, creating beautiful one-off pieces of furniture and decorative accessories, which are marketed to the local hospitality industry and visitors. The wider community now recognise these young men as role models, carving out a future for themselves, both locally and sustainably.