When taxi rides are a source of inspiration: working as a TVET expert in Mongolia

Beate Dippmar is already on her third foreign assignment for GIZ. Her mission: to improve young people’s career opportunities.

For Beate Dippmar, taking a taxi in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator has its own special appeal. On her journeys, young taxi drivers talk to her in halting English about their career paths. Most of them grew up with different dream jobs and have become taxi drivers via quite a roundabout route. Beate finds these insights extremely valuable: as a programme manager for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, she is working towards improving technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Mongolia. 

Beate has been living in Ulan Bator for about two years. Together with her team, she wants to make young people better prepared to meet the country’s economic requirements by giving them training with practical relevance and therefore improving their prospects on the job market. One aim is to convert seven vocational schools into competence centres, such as for mechatronic engineering. The underlying conditions are challenging: the schools do not have the money they need to provide the required level of education and there is no specific training for teaching and management staff at vocational schools. And, as soon as teachers have acquired extensive expertise, many of them switch to the private sector.

These are the challenges that the TVET expert is tackling together with her national and international colleagues. She does not speak any Mongolian, so a local colleague is always on hand to interpret at meetings. This is bringing people together: ‘The team really put their hearts into it. If a project ends up making slower progress than we’d planned, we motivate one another to keep on going. Seeing how the vocational schools are gradually developing shows that our efforts are paying off,’ she says.

Beate consulted with the other members of her family of four before deciding to move to Mongolia: ‘We’d already lived in Viet Nam and Rwanda. We always find immersing ourselves in foreign cultures very exciting!’ 

Read Beate Dippmar’s personal account in the GIZ magazine akzente.

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