A designer’s digital journey against all odds

In Jordan, unemployment continues to persist to this day, affecting millions of families all over the country. Specifically, women and youth are the most vulnerable groups, characterised by disproportionately high rates.

Nouseibah, 27, has it even harder as an industrial designer with very little opportunities in Jordan. “The local design sector is dominated by graphic and interior design opportunities with not much to offer for industrial, product, or furniture designers”, she explains.

Nouseibah did not, however, succumb to hopelessness and despair, nor did she take the easy way out and switch to more in-demand jobs. She instead decided to follow her passion and explore alternative options within her field. 

“I grew up in Ajloun among a family of artists in a house that sits high on a hill, overlooking vast areas of lush greenery. I believe the serenity and natural splendour of the setting inspired my path, where I strive to emanate the beauty around me in my designs and creations,” says Nouseibah.

To her pleasant surprise, she found a world of opportunities available online where she can carry on doing what she loves. This is when she decided to give digital freelancing a try and started exploring platforms for digital work and gigs like Upwork and Freelancer.

Nouseibah was very drawn to the idea of working independently, which gives her “exposure to different styles, schools, and materials”, broadening her experience and ability to align with international clients’ needs.

“A week or two later, I stumbled upon the Digital Avenue project, which was offering exactly what I was looking for. I am now enrolled in the training programme to help me start my online digital work journey.”

The project, funded by the United States Department of State, supports over 500 young Jordanians, like Nouseibeh, in building their digital freelancing skills and tapping into global digiwork opportunities. 

“I used to hear a lot of negative feedback about freelance platforms. Namely, that they are not reliable and it’s extremely difficult to find a job. However, the trainer completely transformed my conception with his elaborate, detailed, and comprehensive teaching. As soon as I completed the course, I created profiles on Upwork and Mostaql”, adds Nouseibah.

After the training, Nouseibah started tailoring her applications based on the specific needs of clients. She also learned to elaborate more on her skills and expertise. “I used to only write ‘3D modelling’ on my profile, which was not enough to describe my capabilities.” 

She also emphasised the importance of learning to check clients’ credibility and trustworthiness, which she previously never paid considerate attention to.

Currently, Nouseibah is creating tangible results in her digital journey. She is already in contact with two potential clients, one from neighbouring country Palestine and another from India. “I am looking forward to an exciting journey to come”.

As she makes great strides in her pursuit of more clients, Nouseibah’s learning journey goes on. She is now exposed to a new world of digital work assignments to learn from and hundreds of thousands of international clients to work with.

On a strategic level, our Digital Avenue project helps young talents like Nouseibah enrol in the global gig economy, which employs about 2.5 million people to meet the rising demand for digital skills worldwide. In a developing country like Jordan, where more than 60% of the population is under the age of 30, providing youth with new income opportunities can blaze new trails in the country’s strides towards inclusive, sustainable economic development.