Private sector development and vocational training, South Caucasus
Title: Private sector development and vocational training, South Caucasus
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
Lead executing agencies: Economics and training ministries in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia
Overall term: 2017 to 2020
The three South Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have to generate inclusive growth if they are to narrow the urban-rural divide and reduce poverty, particularly in rural regions. To do this, key employment sectors, such as tourism and agriculture, require skilled workers trained in line with private sector needs. However, these countries’ vocational training systems do not yet offer the necessary framework for achieving this. In particular, training does not involve the private sector in a targeted way and is not geared to practice.
Conditions for sustainable economic development in selected relevant employment sectors are improved.
The project follows the integrated approach to employment promotion used by German development cooperation. It focuses on labour market supply and demand in a bid to improve the conditions for job creation. Involving the private sector in vocational training is a core component.
Promoting the private sector. The project is working to strengthen the efficiency of key business support organisations, local governments and selected businesses in order to improve competitiveness and develop sustainable business models in key employment sectors.
Vocational training. The project analyses the need for skills development and identifies appropriate training providers. It then assists these providers to compile new curricula for vocational skills development in line with international standards and helps improve teaching methods and management within centralised training institutions. Its focus is on quality management, cooperation with the private sector and the development of dual-type training courses.
Regional and international exchange of experience. Thematic exchange formats enable the implementing partners in the region to learn from each other and to network. Ministries and regional partners work together in regional academies to develop joint approaches to cooperation in vocational training, tourism and winegrowing.
In Armenia, the project’s advisory services focus on winegrowing, tourism and precision mechanics/IT. In Azerbaijan, they are geared to winegrowing, agriculture and tourism and in Georgia on winegrowing, tourism and construction.
Cofinanced by the European Union (EU), the project cooperates with the consulting sector and the implementing organisation of the business community, sequa gGmbH.
The programme builds on the results of the predecessor programme, ‘Private sector development, South Caucasus (2013–2017)’.
Armenia. In the tourism sector, new local support concepts have been developed in the two agricultural regions of Gegharkunik and Vayots Dzor, giving small tourism businesses a starting point from which to improve their services and gain access to finance. In cooperation with the University of Geisenheim in Germany and Armenian training providers, a new course in oenology and winemaking has been developed, comprising 11 training modules. Graduates of this course easily find employment.
Azerbaijan. Public-private dialogue forums facilitate exchanges on vocational training between ministries, public sector bodies and the private sector. After identifying the needs, short courses were developed and run in the cities of Goychay and Khachmaz in cooperation with local training providers. As a result of these courses, 60 farmers have been able to improve their production in both qualitative and quantitative terms. A community-based tourism model for the region around Göygöl National Park is supporting the development of rural tourism and generating income.
Georgia. With project support, producers of Georgian qvevri wine – which is traditionally produced in clay pots – have formed a cluster. They are working together to improve the quality of wine destined for the export market and to develop the range of wine tourism services. Over the past two years, these producers have been able to increase sales to the EU by 68 per cent and boost their turnover by 121 per cent. Some 300 guest room owners and hotel managers in the tourist areas of Racha and Anaklia have also improved their services and created earning opportunities for more local people.
Thanks to the project, Georgia launched its first completely dual-structured course of vocational training for winegrowers in late 2016. In close collaboration with the private sector, up to 15 more dual courses on tourism and construction are under development and will be rolled out on phased basis.
Regional exchange. Regional academies for both public and private sector actors offer a platform for thematic learning, specialist exchange and further cooperation on joint national, regional and sectoral projects, also on dual vocational training and cross-border tourism.