Towards a knowledge-based economy:

EU, UNDP investing in local talent to boost vocational education development opportunities in Azerbaijan

Jun 6, 2018

Photo: UNDP Azerbaijan. EU Ambassador Kestutis Jankauskas and faculty member of the Jalilabad Vocational Lyceum Rasim exploring engineering capacity of an industrial truck during the project kick-off meeting in Jalilabad on 6 June 2018.

Baku, 6 June 2018 – The European Union, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announce their continued support for the enhancement of vocational education and development capacity in Azerbaijan, as part of the EU-funded initiative on ‘Modernising Vocational Education and Training (VET) Centres in Azerbaijan’. The vocational education and training (VET) system agenda for Azerbaijan’s southern region was launched today at the project kick-off meeting held in Jalilabad.

Framing the agenda in his opening remarks, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Azerbaijan Alessandro Fracassetti spoke of the pivotal significance of local talent as essential leaders in the development of a knowledge-based economy. He emphasised that “it is important that we continue to drive success in our education systems, but it is also important that we look to global trends and mainstream success in the education sector to provide progressively cultivated and refined curriculums to strengthen employability.”

Through a dual track approach, the ventures will strengthen the physical infrastructure, technical foundation, training and operational capacities of the Jalilabad Vocational Lyceum by converting it to a modern Regional VET Centre of Excellence in the Lankaran Economic Region, with focus on occupations in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. This will match to the demands of the local labour market, reinforce the importance of public-private partnerships and cooperation and relate replicable models to bridge education to employment.

An overarching focus of this project will be capacity building of the local communities by transforming local talent and fostering a knowledge-based society through equipping students with the practical workplace skills to think and act. This will be fundamental in targeting high levels of unemployment and the shortage of people with critical job skills experienced in the current labour market.

Central to adopting a stronger model of the VET system in Azerbaijan, the project supports participatory involvement and will partner with private enterprise, civil society organisations and local government to achieve program outcomes and endorse collaborative opportunities with relevant sectors to strengthen employability and talent development.

“In order to succeed in converting the current Jalilabad Vocational Lyceum into a modern Regional VET Centre of Excellence for occupations in agriculture and manufacturing sectors we all have to work together,” stated Ambassador Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan. Elaborating on the importance of enhanced partnership for development, Ambassador Jankauskas further emphasised that “only collaborative approach can create strong ties between the members and foster additional synergies and potentials to leverage.”

In a spirit of a joint pursuit and stronger partnerships, the European Union and UNDP operate in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the State Agency on Vocational Education.

Activities through the VET projects will also respond to the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals and specifically will target inclusive and equitable education, lifelong learning opportunities, access to acquisition of relevant skills and training for vulnerable sections of the workforce including women, young people and persons with disabilities.

Last month the first of two regional projects was successfully launched in Ganja to support the establishment of a regional industrial VET competence centre in the north-western regions of Azerbaijan. Together with the Jalilabad VET Centre in the south of the country, these two profoundly new establishments will aim to improve the quality and overall competitiveness of technical education by meeting international standards and specific industry requirements.

Moving forward, beneficiaries of the two projects on modernising Azerbaijan’s VET system will extend beyond the locations of the two centres to the surrounding local communities of Ganja and Jalilabad. 


Written by Arzu Jafarli and Jacqueline Smith  


Contact information

For questions, please contact Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst for UNDP in Azerbaijan at

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