Promoting collaboration between vocational schools and employers

The EU and UNDP labour market research helps boost reforms in vocational education and training

September 13, 2022
Photo source: Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia
Photo source: Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia

Georgian employers note a lack of professionalism and low motivation of job seekers among the major obstacles to hiring personnel. However, the vast majority of companies, 88 percent, say that they do not cooperate with professional colleges and training centres and 31 percent can hardly see a benefit of such a partnership. Only 24 percent of employers report experience in working with vocational educational institutions by offering students internships and on-the-job training opportunities.

These and other findings are included in the labour market research released by the European Union and UNDP on 13 September.

Implemented by the research company ACT in cooperation with Georgia’s Ministry of Education and Science and the Skills Agency, the research focuses on the sectors of tourism and health/wellness, covering 14 municipalities in five regions of Georgia (the Ajara Autonomous Republic, Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti).

The study blends desk research with focus group discussions and face-to-face or phone interviews, reaching out to over 520 respondents in the target regions. This includes representatives of tourism and health/wellness companies and vocational education and training (VET) institutions.

The research provides information about the most in-demand vocations and professions, examines professional qualifications needed in these market segments, analyses whether the existing vocational educational programmes respond to the market demand, and weighs the prospects of introducing and developing new educational programmes. It also includes recommendations on how to promote the collaboration of employers with educational institutions and how to make vocational education and training more responsive to the needs of youth, women, people with disabilities and representatives of ethnic minorities.

“Vocational education and training provides people with essential skills for employment, active citizenship and personal development. To achieve these goals it needs to be relevant to the labour market needs and national economic priorities. This labour market research helps estimate the gaps in Georgia’s vocational education and training and set out the pathways for greater cooperation between the VET actors.”
Colombe de Mercey, Team Leader for Governance and Human Capital at the European Union Delegation to Georgia
“The overwhelming majority of employers tell us they have no connection with vocational educational centres – even while also telling us they struggle to find staff with the right skills and experience. We need to better understand this disconnect so we can close the gap for the benefit of both job seekers and business owners.”
Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia

Other speakers at the presentation of the EU/UNDP labour market research included Valerian Gobronidze, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia; Irakli Nadareishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia; Tamar Kitiashvili, Head of the Skills Agency; and Giorgi Pertaia, President of Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In Georgia, unemployment hovers around 18 percent on average, reaching 30 percent in some of the regions. Young people are particularly vulnerable to unemployment. In the age group of 15 to 29 years, the unemployment rate varies from 28 to 50 percent (Source: GEOSTAT). Besides, 34 percent of Georgian youth are currently qualified as NEET as they are not engaged in employment, education or training. Only five percent of Georgian secondary school graduates choose to enter vocational education programmes.

Background Information:

The EU and UNDP assist Georgia in creating a high-performing educational system, introducing new learning models and tools, and inspiring young people to study hard and strive for professional success. These efforts aim to improve youth education and close the gaps between Georgia and the European countries in the areas related to youth participation and engagement.

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