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Green jobs

An apprenticeship changed my life

My name is Muhammad Taher Muhammad al-Tahri. I’m 28. When war broke out in Yemen in 2014, the factory where I worked shut down.

In high school I was an outstanding student and dreamed of becoming an electronic engineer. But the war meant I gave up on my dream. 

I looked for work in other factories but there were no opportunities. I was young, unemployed and couldn’t achieve my dreams for the future. I fell into a state of despair.

Then one of my old classmates told me about an apprenticeship programme run by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ghadaq Organization for Development. Registration had opened for new applicants. When I went to register, there were lots of other people there and I wondered whether they would even look at my application let alone accept me onto the programme. But they did! By God I was happy.

I chose solar panel installation, repair and maintenance training, one of the options of the apprenticeship programme.

When we started the training, I thought we would be in a classroom with paper and pen, but I was surprised that the course was both theoretical and practical. It was divided into several phases - a class training phase where I learned life skills, financial literacy and about occupational safety and health, and then specialized technical training, which was divided into two parts: I studied the theory in institutes and then had on-the-job training in a workshop where I worked with experienced craftspeople. After I completed the specialized technical training, I studied entrepreneurship, which taught me how to open and manage my own business.

Five men are crouched down next to two solar panels, including Muhammad Taher Muhammad al-Tahri and another apprentice, who wear yellow hard hats.  They are being trained to install solar panels.

I learned a lot from the on-the-job training.


The combination of theoretical and practical training meant it was really comprehensive, both in terms of the work experience and the knowledge I gained. I learned how to install solar energy systems and connect them in parallel, series or mixed-mode; how to measure the battery and the panels; and how to maintain the panels.

We also learned the correct way to install home solar energy systems, as well as larger-scale systems for farms.

The apprenticeship has changed my life, thanks to God, and in a big way.

Muhammad Taher Muhammad al-Tahri Solar panel installation and maintenance specialist

Solar energy systems are a good alternative green energy source in Yemen, particularly given the power outages caused by the war.  I want to expand the use of solar energy in many applications in my country.

At the moment the fighting has stopped in my region. I’m now working freelance and have enough work to keep me busy full-time.  

The apprenticeship has changed my life, thanks to God, and in a big way. My living conditions have improved. I am able to support my parents and younger siblings, and I am now on my way to achieving my goals in my personal life.

I am working on developing my own business by setting up a workshop and expanding to neighbouring areas. I am also trying to expand my list of clients through social media and WhatsApp. I am sure, God willing, that I will be successful.

Muhammad Taher Muhammad al-Tahri stands in a doorway with his mother and three children, who are his young brothers and sister.

My mother, my younger siblings and me. I am happy that I can help to support them.


Apprenticeships are a hugely successful way to learn skills, especially for young people, because it moves young people from unemployment to hope and provides them with an occupation which helps them to improve their livelihoods.

In the past, I was a young man without any goal in life, nor did I have a job, but now, thanks to the apprenticeship programme I have goals and an occupation! I aim to expand my work in this field. I want to be more creative in my work and learn more. I feel needed and respected by people in my community, and I have developed greater self-confidence because of my occupation.

Muhammad Taher Muhammad al-Tahri connects electric cables next to a solar panel on a rooftop.

I enjoy my work in all respects, especially because I’m freelance and now have continuous work.


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