Nowadays vulnerable layers of population, especially women and youth, face great difficulties in the labor market. The majority (70 percent) of registered people in the State Employment Service Agency, under the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs are women. Even though the number of people who are employed as a result of public programs in employment is gradually increasing, state employment programs focusing on these target groups are limited and are not sufficient to overcome the problems of women and youth unemployment.
Today, Dafina Gercheva, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia and Arthur Grigoryan, RA Minister of Labor and Social Affairs signed a Letter of Agreement (LoA) on organization and conduct of large-scale vocational retraining with further job placement for registered long-term unemployed women and youth, who recently graduated from VET institutions, with the special focus on remote communities.
As a result of the joint project, more than 100 unemployed women and 85 young people will be retrained and will pass an internship obtaining skills and knowledge demanded by the Armenian labor market. The initiative will also increase the available funding for professional retraining and job placement, as well as strengthen financial capacities of selected VET institutions and other training providers directly involved in project implementation. The retraining will also be vital for skilled rural youth, who own a piece of land but lack work experience. In this regard, the project has a big potential in the regions where youth unemployment rate is the highest, namely Lori, Kotayk, Shirak and Vayots Dzor regions. The duration of the professional trainings will vary from 2 up to 3 months based on the core content of the VET state curricula to be introduced and delivered. Monthly fellowships for trainees as well as salaries for interns among other expenses will be covered by UNDP Armenia.
"This is yet another example of a long-term and strategic partnership between UNDP Armenia, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the private sector. One of the main outcomes of our collaboration over the years is the provision of rapid and targeted response to socio-economic challenges youth and women are facing in Armenia. We are present at national, regional and local levels - making UNDP a partner of choice to support the long-term nature of national capacity development.
I am confident that UNDP\'s best practices in the area of vocational education will have a positive impact on human development in Armenia and will boost employment generation efforts across the country," said Dafina Gercheva, UN RC/UNDP RR.
Employment generation programs supported by both state and donor community constitute an important element of Active Labor Market (ALM) polices. The successful implementation of this joint initiative, with a total budget of USD 120,000, will open new avenues for introducing a nationwide programme aimed at employment generation for the most vulnerable layers of population, with the particular focus on women and youth.
UNDP Armenia, within the framework of "Vocational Education and Training (VET) System" project, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs have organized over the past three years a number of short-term training programs for unemployed to retrain them in vocational specialties demanded by the labor market. At the peak of the financial crisis, this initiative was instrumental for reversing the trend of growing unemployment in Armenia.
The first series of vocational retrainings with further job placement were initiated in August 2009 and proved to be very successful. In 2009-2011, similar professional/specialized training programs were conducted in Yerevan and all regions of Armenia. The programs involved 170, 395, 150 registered unemployed respectively. As of January 2012, all the training programs are completed and about 300 registered unemployed are job placed.
Capitalizing on the successful results and aiming at scaling up the initiative, UNDP Armenia proposed to continue the support to the employment sector and initiated the forth phase of the project giving the highest importance to a reduction of youth and women unemployment in rural areas.
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