Tourism and construction are growing sectors in the Georgian economy; yet an inadequate supply of skilled labor inhibits employment prospects for Georgians, with concomitant negative consequences for improving productivity and income growth. Georgia’s future economic growth is dependent in part on the country’s ability to improve its workforce to meet labor market demand. The Vocational Education Project (VEP) in Georgia was designed to increase the capacities of Georgia’s construction and tourism sectors through specialized interventions in training and education.
The VEP was designed to:
- increase the supply of trained graduates in tourism and construction trades from four or more vocational education centers, certified to international standards or their equivalent;
- increase the sustainability of the centers through public-private partnerships and the application of business models to their development; and
- facilitate public-private cooperation for the development of vocational standards and related curricula in the tourism and construction trades to ensure that the competencies created meet market needs.
Men doing construction VEP worked with the Government of Georgia to create models for effective and sustainable Vocational Education Centers (VECs) to meet market demand for certified and skilled labor in the tourism and construction industries. This activity was implemented in five VECs: the Icarus Tourism VEC, Spektri construction VEC, Khidistavi VEC located near Gori, Kobuleti Tourism VEC, and the Kutaisi construction VEC. VEP provided training and technical assistance to the VECs to develop courses responsive to labor market demand for a skilled workforce in tourism and construction.
The VEP program focused on training around ethics, entrepreneurship, presentation, and the interpersonal skills required for improved employability and business start-up and management. In addition, VEP tracked graduates for a period of three months on the job, provides counseling services as needed, and works with employers to facilitate the graduates’ transition to stable employment.
VEP brought together the public and private sectors to develop and implement activities that utilize best international practices in vocational education and training standards. This collaborative approach breaks down barriers and builds trust between the public and private sectors and creates a joint cooperation model to support the ongoing reform process.
After completion, VEP resulted in increased skills for 5,290 graduates of the vocational education centers, exceeding the mandated target of 5000. The project also exceeded the mandated employment rate of 50 percent for three months. As part of this process, the project
- increased the likelihood that graduates will be gainfully employed;
- provided mentoring opportunities for women graduates;
- positioned the VECs to secure private sector clients and thereby become less reliant on public funds; and
- elevated the status of the VECs and their graduates through marketing (public service announcements) and viable partnerships with the private sector.