Increasing Employability for Syrian Refugees and Turkish Host Communities in the Renewable Energy Sector

What is the project about?

The overall objective of the project is to increase employability of estimated 500 Syrians and host community members in the area of the renewable energy sector, in two provinces to be selected among Konya, Bursa, Tekirdağ and Kocaeli, by providing required vocational trainings, technical and skills certifications for the potential workforce in those provinces. The project also aims to increase community awareness and understanding of the jobs and opportunities which are available in the renewable energy sector. From this perspective, it is also expected the project to support the renewable energy sector by training, forming and providing intermediate/technical workforce and required in-depth information on the renewables, through a feasibility study for renewable energy training centers to further expand opportunities and training capacities across the country.

The one million USD budgeted project which is financed by the Government of Korea, is being implemented by the Ministry of National Education Directorate General of Life-Long Learning in cooperation with UNDP.

The project aims to deliver 2 main outputs:

  1. Contribute to the employability of the potential workforce through vocational training and skills certification in the renewable energy sector (solar and wind energy in particular) for an estimated 500 Syrians and host community members (men and women).
  2. Development of a feasibility report for the existing training/vocational training centers/vocational and technical high schools in project provinces. The feasibility report will look into the specific demands of training/vocational training centers/vocational and technical high schools, such as possible locations, capacities, job creation potential, required equipment, budget, sustainability and private sector demand in the selected provinces regarding vocational training needs for renewable energy.


What has been the situation?

As of March 2020, Turkey hosts around 3,5 million Syrians under Temporary Protection.[1] Turkey currently hosts the largest refugee population in the world and continues to demonstrate strong national ownership of the response. The Government of Turkey provides a rights-based legal framework through the Temporary Protection Regulation, which offers access to education, health care, employment and social security to Syrians.

Currently, out of 3,5 million registered Syrians, more than 96% live amongst Turkish host communities[2]. 45% of the Syrians are concentrated in 4 provinces in the Southeastern Anatolia. This high concentration of Syrians in certain areas has been increasing the competition over access to services as well as jobs and livelihoods opportunities, which, in turn, has adversely affected social cohesion.

Renewable energy is one of the fastest developing and promising sectors in Turkey’s economy, which has a high potentiality to support country’s local and sustainable economic growth path, particularly through the employment opportunities available in the installation, operation and maintenance phases of the renewable energy investments. With pilot projects recently rising across the country, the renewables sector can indeed trigger local economic stimulus through utilization of local workforce, technology and innovation, and can offer decent work opportunities and sustainable income for all, especially for vulnerable communities. Besides, renewables are perfectly dependent on local natural, geographic and economic conditions and landscapes, hence providing an opportunity for local ownership and sustainability during the lifespan of such investments.


What is our mission?

The project aims to support the renewable energy sector in two provinces to be selected among Konya, Bursa, Tekirdağ and Kocaeli. Within this perspective,  it is expected to trigger local economic growth, based on the core principles of sustainable development agenda and to provide sustainable and decent livelihoods opportunities at local level by bringing Syrians and host community members together over common economic and environmental interests and improve social cohesion and local economic development by creating an environment to allow women’s and youth participation in local labor force.  


How we are doing this?

Within the scope of the project, it is expected to build a living network among private and public sectors, NGOs, civil society organizations, chambers of commerce and industry, and academia in the renewable energy sector. This eco-system with all actors involved, will determine the needs and demands of the sector, including the generation of new economic gains for both Syrians and host community members. The vocational trainings under the project will primarily focus on the training of the unskilled labor in the sector (i.e. including beneficiaries with some vocational or high school education). The trainings will cover manufacturing, installation and maintenance of equipment and systems in power plants using renewable energy in selected provinces.


How will Turkey benefit?

Renewable energy sector, in the given model under the project, might be an answer to pressing issues such as local and sustainable economic growth, green infrastructure investments, a shift from low skilled labor to the trained workforce, inclusiveness and accessibility in the energy sector, strengthening the capacities of local actors, community development, cohesion and integration. It can pave the way to prosperity for all.

The project will support the integration of Syrians and host communities by facilitating new, sustainable and decent job opportunities at local level in the aforementioned project provinces, in particular, current ESSN beneficiaries with “high capacity” through vocational education in an area that is rapidly developing in Turkey in the last couple of years. Investment in renewables will stimulate local economic growth and create awareness around common environmental issues at local level. Project activities will strengthen community level engagement among Syrians and host community members. Thus, the project will eventually help the overall self-reliance of ESSN beneficiaries and assist to reduce dependency on the current cash assistance and support social integration.


[1] Official data Directorate General for Migration Management, Turkey, March 2020.

[2] Mostly in the South East, particularly Gaziantep, Kilis, Şanlıurfa, and Hatay.