Cash for work: basic skills training in the manual trades and service sector

Project description

Project title: Cash for Work: Production and Commercialisation of Crafts and Handicraft
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Turkey
Lead executing agency: Vice President’s Office
Overall term: 2016 to 2019

ein Syrer absolviert ein on-the-job-Training in einem Privatunternehmen in Kooperation mit der GCI


Turkey has taken in more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, making it the country hosting the most refugees throughout the world. The majority of them are living in urban areas of Turkey. Many communities are finding it hard to cope with taking in so many people. The refugees are provided with basic services by the Turkish state, but most of them lack opportunities for earning income and acquiring vocational qualifications. As a result, they take jobs in the informal sector instead, in some cases on precarious terms. A lack of Turkish language skills is also an obstacle to permanent access to the Turkish labour market.

Many Syrians have started up a micro-enterprise. However, they lack the financing and knowledge to register their enterprise with the authorities, thus risking being closed down.


The economic situation of the Syrian refugees and Turkish people in need in the host communities has temporarily improved.

syrische und türkische Frauen in einem Konditoreikurs in einer Volkshochschule in Bursa


Measures are being implemented to teach basic skills to Syrian refugees and Turkish residents facing particular hardship to prepare them for manual trades or the service sector in the Turkish labour market. The training courses are geared towards the labour market in each particular province. Thus a large number of courses are offered in the textile sector, which is very important for Turkish industry, for example. Women are particularly interested in courses that will enable them to set up their own business or work from home, for example as cooks, pastry chefs, caterers, kindergarten teachers, seamstresses or in the carpet-making or craft sector.

Men tend to prefer training courses in occupations in demand from industry, for example as sheet metal workers/roofers, carpenters, mechanics, electrical engineers, IT specialists, cooling and heating maintenance professionals, materials testers and laboratory technicians.

The preparatory and back-up measures facilitate access to the labour market for Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens in need. Participants receive a financial subsidy so that they are not forced to work in the informal labour sector under precarious conditions. The Syrian participants attend Turkish classes and learn about working in Turkey.

In a pilot project implemented with the Gaziantep Chamber of Industry, 2,000 people are being trained in various occupations to meet demand and are subsequently placed with private companies for six months of on-the-job training.


Around 17,200 men and women in 12 provinces have taken part in about 400 training courses so far. These include some 8,000 people who attended courses at the state-run adult education centres. The courses attended by both Turkish and Syrian participants are seen in a very positive light. They not only promote skills, abilities and talents and hence increase the prospect of finding work, they also play a key role in reducing prejudices and promoting greater understanding between Syrian and Turkish people, allowing strangers to become friends. Around 1,000 Syrian participants have completed a language course.

Syrer erlernen das Schuhhandwerk in Yayladagi, Hatay

Of the some 2,000 people who have completed the courses in the pilot project implemented with the Gaziantep Chamber of Industry, around 185 have already been placed with private companies for on-the-job training. The participants are given a work permit and social security insurance for the duration of their employment.

In addition, 392 previously unlicensed Syrian small businesses have been registered in Istanbul and Gaziantep. This has enabled business owners not only to negotiate better supply terms, but also to order better-quality goods and to hire employees legally. (Last updated: December 2018)