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Ukraine: A future vision for vocational education

What does a skills, labour market and vocational education system of the future look like? How does it keep pace with the fast-changing world of work? Can it promote economic development and social cohesion? Ukraine is addressing these questions as it sets out its vision for a modern, agile system.

What does a skills, labour market and vocational education system of the future look like? How does it keep pace with the fast-changing world of work? Can it promote economic development and social cohesion? Ukraine is addressing these questions as sets out a shared vision for a modern, agile system.

Ukraine’s Minister of Education Lilia Hrynevych and the EU Delegation’s Head of Cooperation Berend de Groot joined ETF experts, parliamentarians and stakeholders from the worlds of work and education to discuss the future of vocational education and training (VET) on 22 February in Kyiv.

More than 90 participants took part in the workshop, organised together with the ETF. Lifelong learning, decentralisation, innovation, migration of young people, were among the topics. EU best practice from Finland and Ireland was also shared. The outcomes will help shape the future vision, which will be further developed and refined when key stakeholders meet in April.  

Opening the workshop, Minister Hrynevych said the vision should be clear and understandable to all involved. ‘It’s obvious that we can succeed only through joint efforts.’

The EU Delegation’s Berend de Groot reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to boost skills and education. ‘We want to see economic growth in the country and for this we need skills. We should build the vision.’ The ETF will lead in advising the design of the EU-intervention in 2018.


Future focused  

The ETF has been working closely with Ukraine as drives its education and skills agenda forward, bringing the system closer to European standards. The responsibility for vocational education is being devolved to the 25 regions – a major challenge for a country of 45 million people.

The ETF has supported the Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science along the way, analysing the practical measures needed to make this a success. The joint project led to a Green Paper, the blueprint for reform. Minister Hrynevych said this forms the basis of the future VET vision, expected in June 2018. ‘The key ideas of this paper can form the foundations of the vision.’

Decentralisation is a complicated process, due to the ‘completely new system of governance,’ she said. ‘Decentralisation represents a lot challenges but at the same time it provides opportunities.’

Regional VET Councils are being established to support skills intelligence on labour market needs and shape a regional policy approach. The financing of vocational education is another focus area.

Action areas

Vocational education enrolments are falling in Ukraine, with many young people moving abroad for work. Minister Hrynevych said the establishment of multi-functional VET centres will help to meet the skills gap. The centres take a holistic approach, offering different levels of vocational education, including adult learning. 

Ukraine is working together with employers to promote work-based learning and apprenticeship. It is modernising occupational and educational standards, in line with labour market needs, and updating school equipment and infrastructure, with the financial support of EU and international partners. 

Dmytro Oliynyk, President of the Federation of Employers in Ukraine, says people are less likely to move abroad for work if they are trained in-companies. ‘The key to success of companies is the people who work for them. We dream of an integrated vocational education and training, system closely linked to companies. We need to unite our efforts.’

The ETF’s Country Manager for Ukraine, Margareta Nikolovska, says the shared future vision presents great opportunities for Ukraine. ‘The vision contributes significantly to public policy debate. It puts education, training, lifelong learning, entrepreneurship, employment and the labour market, i.e. the entire skills system, at the centre of economic reform.’

More info

Read: Skills and training stands on the threshold of historic change in Ukraine on the blog.

Watch: Meet Marva, a 26 year-old Syrian studying to become a dental technician in Ukraine, on the YouTube channel.

Listen: The ETF and The EU Delegations - Q&A with Berend de Groot on the YouTube channel.