British Council

Taqaddam taught me how to jump from my comfort zone, speak in public with no fear and not to worry if I am criticised. I use criticism to develop myself.

Yara El Neanaey, Taqaddam Student  Ekbal Language School. Alexandria 


Life cycle

2015 - present


Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, UAE




To equip young people with a wide set of life skills that will help them thrive in life, work and society, including creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, resilience and leadership.


Unemployment amongst MENA youth is the highest in the world at 30 per cent and was more than double the world average in 2017. Globalisation and technology are bringing about significant changes in the workplace where there is increased competition for jobs and demand for higher levels of skills. This is having a profound effect on the fast-growing, young population of the region, where many young people are leaving education unprepared. Taqaddam aims to support young people build a greater sense of confidence in themselves and their futures, whilst exploring tools for their ongoing personal development. 


Taqaddam, Arabic for ‘moving forward’, supports young people to transition into adulthood with the skills they need to flourish in life, work and society. In partnership with HSBC, we have delivered Taqaddam since 2015, reaching nine different Arab countries.

Students complete four modules on their learning journey; beginning with self-discovery, moving through life-skills development and social action, and ending with thinking about the future and ongoing personal, professional and community development. The student experience includes two large workshops led by international facilitators, teacher-led interactive classes, self-directed activities in the students’ handbook and online teamwork on social action projects. A showcase and celebration event, “Make it Happen”, brings all Taqaddam students together. 


A recent independent evaluation highlighted Taqaddam’s positive impact on many core strengths related to young people’s personal lives, positions in society and future work prospects. It found that Taqaddam is a deeply personal initiative that carries lifelong value; lifting participants out of periods of self-doubt and depression, empowering them to persevere during difficult experiences, and breaking down harmful gender norms.

It specifically succeeded in influencing policy and changing the content and delivery of curricula across the region. In Qatar and Kuwait, the Ministry of Education (MoE) integrated the programme’s framework into the country’s national curricula. In Bahrain, the British Council worked closely with the government to reach all secondary schools in the country. In the UAE, it reached over 18 private schools to roll out the programme across all seven states. In Egypt, Taqaddam reached 23 out of 39 schools under the National Institute. In Oman, the programme reached over 1,400 graduates, was integrated into curricula within three colleges, whereby the MoE authorised its implementation at higher education entry levels. The project has so far reached 8,442 young people and 400 schools across 10 countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and the UK.

Mutual benefit

Our work through the Taqaddam project aims to empower young people by equipping them with the life skills to be more self-aware, connected and engaged global citizens. Taqaddam was delivered in the UK as part of the East London Summer to participants from East London. The programme offered new ways of cross-cultural exchange through webinars with young people from the region and UK. 

Taqaddam aligns with our cultural relations mission by supporting education and learning systems to better prepare young people to be more open and globally connected.