Ganja, 10 July 2019 - The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) opened their first industrial workshop in Ganja today, as part of the EU-funded project to support the establishment of the Regional Industrial Vocational Education and Training (VET) Competence Centre in Ganja.
The project in Ganja seeks to improve the quality of education and, specifically, to bolster the attractiveness of vocational education in Ganja and surrounding regions while also boosting student enrolment and participation, as well as to align the vocational education system of these regions with demand-side requirements of industry.
The new state-of-the art workshop is based in the premises of the Ganja Regional Centre established last year and is appointed with world-class industrial and technical training equipment for vocational education programmes across six major fields of work that are included in the new curricular of the Ganja VET Centre. The school specialises at providing industry-relevant skills to students studying heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; apartment turnover and renovation service; mountain mining jobs; fashion design; plastic welding services for the installment and repair of plastic pumps; and turner’s services to manufacture and assemble metallic components of industrial machinery.
Speaking at the opening of the new Ganja centre, Ms. Simona Gatti, Minister-Counsellor/Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Azerbaijan noted: "The European Union is supporting Azerbaijan to modernise it vocational education and training systems in line with European Standards and Practices. Overall, this project will contribute to match skills with labour market needs. The workshop that we are opening today in the Regional Industrial VET Centre in Ganja will enable students to practice what they learned."
The Centre’s 6 major fields of work have been identified, following an extensive labour market assessment, as priority areas for Ganja –the region that is known as an industrial centre of western Azerbaijan. Currently the Ganja Regional VET Competence Centre has 60 students enrolled in various new programmes the school has to offer for the 2018-2019 academic year. The students will have an opportunity to prepare themselves for their future career in one of the six specialties and learn at the newly opened workshop how to work with the machinery they will then encounter on the job.
“The opening of this flagship workshop today underlines the importance of vocational education as a critical step to expand the country’s diverse workforce and create a more inclusive labour market,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Azerbaijan Mr. Alessandro Fracassetti.
The opening of the VET workshop today was followed by a roundtable with the private sector, which aimed to strengthen partnerships between vocational education schools and a diverse business community of the Ganja region, specifically with small and medium enterprises which are accountable for 90 percent of jobs in developing countries. The European Union and UNDP recognise that the business sector is a key contributor to the Sustainable Development Goals and has immense potential to integrate the competencies of VET graduates with market demand and fill the widening skill gap and talent shortage facing many small and medium companies.
Tapping on this potential in Ganja, the project has developed a new Public-Private Partnership framework to strengthen the ability of national vocational education and training schools to develop human resources with the skillsets that the business sector seeks in talent they acquire. At the roundtable today, the new framework was presented to the private sector for their feedback and review. Consultations with the private sector will continue in the coming months and will be followed up with a consolidated chart of mechanisms for implementing private sector engagement plans to secure job placements for the graduates of the Ganja VET Competence Centre.
The project in Ganja is part of a broader programme on Modernising Vocational Education and Training (VET) Centres in Azerbaijan funded by the EU, with co-financing from the UNDP, and implemented by the UNDP, in close partnership with the Ministry of Education and the State Agency on Vocational Education. The primary focus of this programme is on strengthening the vocational education and development capacity of two regions in Azerbaijan –Ganja in the west and Jalilabad in the south of the country. Collectively, the EU and UNDP are contributing USD 3,463,531 towards funding of this programme, with the EU contributions constituting USD 3,117,178. UNDP’s share of financing in this project is USD 346,353. Only in Ganja, the project received EUR 1,600,000 in funding support.
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