In recent years there has been an increase in demand for vocational training in Israel. Individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds, including immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia, as well as single parents, often face difficulties finding suitable employment.
Teenagers with special needs who have been failed by the traditional education system are referred by Social Services to WIZO’s Vocational High School. In many cases, WIZO is their last chance. The majority have special educational needs and have slipped through the net for various reasons including difficulties at home, physical and sexual abuse, drugs and violence. When they first arrive at the School all students suffer from a lack of confidence and low self-esteem.
At the WIZO Vocational High School in Jerusalem, WIZO provides life-changing opportunities for vulnerable teenagers. The school caters for 100 students with severe emotional and behavioural problems coupled with complex learning difficulties. Many have special educational needs and have slipped through the net for reasons including difficulties at home, abuse, drugs and violence. WIZO works to enable every student to become skilled in a marketable trade and to enlist in the IDF or National Service. The school provides three vocational tracks – music and sound production, catering and hairdressing – and regularly receives the highest accolades from the Ministry of Education as over 80% of those completing vocational training find gainful employment.
At WIZO’s Rainbow House in Haifa, approximately 600 men and women from all backgrounds take part in hairdressing and beauty courses, enabling them to become financially independent. Students learn hairdressing, cosmetics, pedicures and manicures with up to 60 participants on each programme. Hairdressing is the most popular and is attended equally by men and women.
Rainbow House runs theory classes as well as ‘hands-on’ practical lessons which take place in the school’s hairdressing salon and beauty rooms. The school also has many clients who pay for treatments at a reduced price. On completion of the course, graduates receive a Diploma recognised by the Ministry of Economy. This professional qualification helps them to secure employment and to become financially independent.
Due to the school’s professional reputation for training students, businesses in Haifa contact Rainbow House when looking for new staff. Several teachers at the school are in fact former students of Rainbow House.
Towards the end of training, students attend lessons on business management as many want to run their own salons. Courses include accounting, administration and computing (basic and advanced levels). Students are provided with the tools, skills and confidence to find gainful employment, become self-employed or to run their own salons, and to ultimately become financially independent.