New skills, new jobs, and a partner network: Summing up the 1st year of Armenia Workforce Development Activity
Looking back at 2022, the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) is concluding the results of many initiatives implemented throughout the year. Among those is the USAID-funded Armenia Workforce Development Activity.
As Deputy Chief of Party (DCOP) for Armenia Workforce Development Activity Lusine Ghukasyan puts it eloquently, the objective of the project is to provide the youth throughout Armenia, particularly women and people with disabilities, with new working skills and make them competitive in the labor market.
“We try to develop their technical and soft skills through tailor-made training programs, introduce them to the leading private sector companies and build networks,” she noted.
Armenia Workforce Development Activity is a 5-year project, and we are ready to summarize the results of its first year.
Areas and geography
The training courses and youth-led events were held nationwide, engaging over 1,000 training participants and thousands engaged in side-events. In its first year, the Activity covered regions and the capital of Armenia engaging 174 trainees in Shirak, 191 in Lori, 154 in Tavush, and 214 in Yerevan (and adjacent towns).
The three areas of Activity interaction are:
- High-tech/ICT (55.7% of all trainings and events), where courses covered in particular advanced high tech/ICT, marketing, quality assurance, engineering, and design;
- Agriculture (33%), where courses were offered on horticulture, chocolate production, lab chemist training, beekeeping, rabbit breeding, solar energy in agriculture, and soft skills;
- Hospitality (11.2%), where trainings were given on digital marketing, customer service, and the art of hospitality.
Since the aim of the Activity is not simply limited to provision of skills, but also building capacity and sustainability in a long-term perspective, establishment of laboratories in the framework of the project has also been among the achievements of first year implementation, in particular, engineering, multimedia, mobile computer, culinary, and winemaking labs.
Another accomplishment of the year are the 5 new dual educational programs held in the scope of the Activity, with 74 students enrolled. The programs covered the “Meat and meat product technology”, “Canning and food concentrate technology”, “Milk and dairy product technology”, “Greenhouse crop production”, as well as “Drip irrigation systems installation and maintenance”.
Over 1,000 young people participated in educational programs offered in the frames of Armenia Workforce Development Activity. The beneficiaries of the Activity are young people aged 15-29, who seek new job or new profession in ICT/high-tech, agriculture, and hospitality.
The Activity pays special attention to the groups that face more challenges in the labor market for a variety of reasons, from insufficient training to lack of opportunities. The youth and their potential are highly valued, so several youth-led initiatives, thematic workshops, career choice activities, practical workshops as well as celebration of International Youth Day were organized during the first year of implementation.
In addition, the project has a strong emphasis on the engagement of women. This aspect was celebrated through tailored technical training courses, involvement of parents in the events organized in the scope of the project, and through the Women in Data Science Conference.
Engagement of people with disabilities is also part of the Activity philosophy. In the very first year of the project’s implementation, we made sure to have tailored training courses (including soft skills training) and thematic workshop on People with disabilities inclusion. Moreover, first year also had training for Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) staff on serving vulnerable persons and changes on reasonable adjustments for People with disabilities in the laws on VET education and Higher education.
Several trainees shared their thoughts about their experience with the Activity in the short video below.
Establishing linkages for public private partnership is key to success of the AWDA project. In just its first year, the project established ties with over 30 partner private companies and public entities, held joint training programs, master classes and workshops, and organized visits to private companies for the trainees.
The big event
The first year of the AWDA project was crowned with its largest event yet, the presentation of the “Skills mismatch study” during the First National Conference. The event gathered over 260 private sector companies, over 1,000 AWDA participants, as well as more than 2,000 parents and over 2,300 schoolchildren.
The Activity provides access to valuable education and closely cooperates with the private sector, creating the conditions for trainees to quickly learn skills and find a place to apply them. As evident from the impressive results of the first year, there are grounds to expect a successful run for this project. As more young Armenians get a better start in the labor market, the market itself is starting to transform, and more opportunities arise for them.