EBRD and Turkey’s Education Ministry promote work-based learning for youth

By Olga Rosca

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EBRD and Turkey’s Education Ministry promote work-based learning for youth

Private companies encouraged to play greater role in skills development

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the educational authorities of Turkey are joining forces to promote greater employment and learning opportunities for young people in the country.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in Ankara today by Pierre Heilbronn, EBRD Vice President, Policy and Partnerships, and Mustafa Hilmi Çolakoglu, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of National Education of Turkey.

Pierre Heilbronn said: “As a bank focused on private sector investment, we believe that Turkey’s private companies, the backbone of the country’s economy, can play a greater role in training young people to enhance their employment opportunities. Our joint goal with the Ministry of National Education is to engage employers in developing skills that will match the demands of the labour market.”

Despite steady growth in Turkey, over 35 per cent of young people are not in education, employment or training. At the same time, a significant number of job openings cannot be filled.

The EBRD and the Ministry of National Education will work together with business sector representatives, policy-makers and civil society organisations to overcome this skills mismatch. They will seek to increase and improve work-based learning opportunities such as apprenticeships, develop standards for vocational skills, expand the testing of qualifications across the country and promote career guidance for young people.

In Turkey, over 30 per cent of EBRD investments already boost the economic inclusion of under-employed social groups such as young people and women. 

Examples include tyre maker Brisa Bridgestone, a joint venture between Sabancı Holding and Japan’s Bridgestone Corporation, which is investing in a new tyre plant in Aksaray province where it expects to create over 550 jobs for young people. The EBRD is helping to develop technical and vocational training programmes that will provide these young people with the necessary skills.

Working with educational authorities and restaurant operator TFI TAB Gıda, where the EBRD acquired preference shares, the Bank is helping develop occupational standards for the fast-food industry across the country. This will benefit tens of thousands of young people employed in the restaurant sector which provides many youth with their first jobs and often helps the unemployed to reintegrate into work.

To boost these efforts, the EBRD has also established a strategic partnership with the European Training Foundation (ETF), the European Union’s agency for vocational education and training policy engagement in EU neighbourhood and accession countries. The partnership complements the Bank’s private sector focus and the ETF’s significant policy expertise to help young people gain relevant skills to access jobs.

Economic inclusion is one of the six transition qualities the EBRD has identified in its approach to the countries where it invests, with competitiveness, sustainability, resilience, governance and integration the other key elements.

The EBRD started investing in Turkey in 2009 and currently operates from offices in Istanbul, Ankara and Gaziantep. The country is a top destination for the Bank’s finance, with €1.9 billion invested in 2016 alone. To date, the Bank has invested over €9 billion in Turkey through more than 220 projects across sectors and has mobilised nearly €20 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing. Some 98 per cent of the Bank’s investments in Turkey are in the private sector.

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