Promoting employment for young people in Azerbaijan

Vugar Jafarov, a former SYSLAB participant, currently holds the director position in ASAN Symgayit Centre. ''Young people are very interested in workplaces where innovation is applied''

A newly opened ASAN center in Sumgait City is directed by a young civil servant, Vuqar Jafarov. He is an example of a skillful person who made a successful career path in Azerbaijan. But a few years ago, he probably could not believe that he would make such a rapid career progress.

Vugar Jafarov is one of the first and most successful graduates of the joint project on “ Promoting Employment and Innovation in Azerbaijan” between UNDP, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population and SYSLAB. “I consider the training as one of the outstanding initiatives for Azerbaijani youth'' - Vugar says.

''Young people are very interested in workplaces where new approaches and innovations are applied. They become more successful, improve their knowledge of required procedures in a short period of time and substantially contribute to the organization they are working for. But it is necessary for them to go through the preparation process to acquire crucial skills before launching their career.”- Vuqar says.

One of the main challenges that young people in Azerbaijan face is the lack of sufficient job seeking skills while job hunting. These skills include job-seeking methods, job interview etiquette, person-to-person networking and so forth. Training Centres, which called as SYSLAB Centres, aim to support Azerbaijani youth in this issue and more than 150 young people have already been trained to improve their job seeking skills.

Within the framework of the project, Training Centre in Baku City was inaugurated in 2011. Since its establishment many young job seekers have been recruited and more than 86% of the participants have been employed through the help of innovative methods. The mission of Training Centers is to identify and utilize the resource potential which qualified but unemployed personnel represents, and to contribute to value creation and growth, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises. The concept includes modern job-seeking methods, trainings, systematic business and person-to-person networking.

Graduates can join the project without having any work experience. Unemployed young people registered in the State Employment Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan are directed to Training Centre. By developing their professional skills during four months period, the participants undertake a short internship programme. They can choose one of the available fields of study such as marketing, human resources, information technologies that is right for them.


  • The project goal is to support Azerbaijani youth in enhancing their professional skills in job hunting, eventually contributing to the governmental employment policy to reduce the unemployment’s level countrywide.
  • SYSLAB Centers aim to enrich professional skills such as job-seeking methods, interview etiquette, expanding network and opportunities and make the young people be qualified for the floating market.
  • SYSLAB Centers train 20-40 participants/unemployed persons for periods of 4 months to provide them with the necessary skills to enter the labor market.
  • 160 young job seekers have been recruited and more than 86% of the participants have been employed since the implement of project
  • Already two SYSLAB Centers have been put in public use respectively in Baku and Sumgayit cities. The next Center will be opened in Ganja city.
  • SYSLAB Centers are cooperating with local banks and companies, international corporations and Government Agencies to improve project participants’ professional performance.

Vugar already had certain work experience before joining Centre. Previously, he has been working as a Senior Specialist in the Sumgait Social Protection Centre. ''Getting acquainted with the project, I decided to enroll to the courses. During the seminars, I was convinced that I had made the right choice. I learnt a lot of things during the training, but I am especially grateful for the teamworking skills.'' - says Vugar Jafarov.

It's worth mentioning that Vugar not only learned a great deal from Centre but also made a rather considerable contribution to the project itself. ''I often shared my skills with other group members, sometimes the project staff allowed me to lead the seminars as well. As I’ve had a work experience in public service before joining the project, I helped and motivated them in applying to the civil service programme''.

Having graduated from Training Centre, Vugar applied to ASAN Service. After passing successfully the civil service examination, he has been assigned to a big duty: to assist in establishing ASAN Service in Sumgayit City. His high professionalism during the establishment process triggered his promotion to the director position of the respective Centre.

In order to extend the project on ''Promoting Employment and Innovation in Azerbaijan'' countrywide, Training Centre in Sumgayit was opened in September, 2013. Vugar was overjoyed I have witnessed that the center encourages young people, increases their self-esteem and assists to choose and find a relevant job. I think that the implementation of the project should be continued in other regions where the access to such benefits is limited''.

Vugar recommended his unemployed friends and the volunteers of ASAN Service to stop by Training Centre in Sumgait: ''We provide an opportunity for 60 volunteers to work in ASAN Service. As a successful graduate, I advise them to use the benefits provided by Training Centre. This is an excellent chance for them. They get a chance to learn career management in Training Center while interning in ASAN Service''.

The State Employment Service of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Azerbaijan have been collaborating to implement the project on ''Promoting Employment and Innovation in Azerbaijan'' with the financial support of SYSLAB non-profit organization based in Norway and UNDP since 2011.

The goal of the project in Azerbaijan is to enhance job seekers' professional skills through trainings, contribute to the government's employment policy, boost the integration of young people to labour market, and decrease the level of unemployment and contribute to local/regional business development by providing motivated and competent work force.