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Working together to reinforce qualifications in Turkey

Over one hundred stakeholders from all over Turkey are meeting with ETF and international experts in the Turkish town of Mudurnu on 19-21 September to agree on how to further strengthen the country’s vocational qualification system.

Turkey has made great progress in developing its qualification system. It has established a Vocational Qualification Authority (VQA) and a growing network of Accredited Certification Bodies (ACB) in the form of VocTest Centers tasked with assessing the skills of candidates against national vocational qualifications in order to certify them.

The workshop, organised jointly by the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), brings together all the parties who contribute to the national qualification system – VQA, ACBs, employers, training providers, NGOs – together with experts from the ETF, the European Union Delegation to Turkey, EBRD and ILO. It builds on the ongoing work for strengthening and extending the network of VocTest Centers, focusing on the experience gained and challenges ahead.

The strong commitment of employers is one strength of the Turkish system. “Employers should put more effort on training their workers.” said Sabahattin Gücin, Manager of the Vocational Training Academy owned by Ford Otosan, a major automotive manufacturer in Turkey. “Companies should pay attention and take advantage of the qualifications of their workers.”

The challenge of Industry 4.0 and how the qualification system will need to adapt to emerging skills needs was also evoked in discussions. “The needs of sectors are changing.” said Mr Gücin. “Qualifications will be a hot topic in the future, much attention must be paid to the design of qualifications to meet new needs of the private sector.”

The action plan agreed at the end of the workshop will be adopted at a national conference of the ACBs organised by VQA in December 2018. Both events will provide input for an EU-funded IPA II project to support the VocTest Centers that will start in 2019.

“EU support is available to improve the system.” said Mustafa Balci, Education and Training Expert at the EU Delegation to Turkey. “If there are problems we will come together to solve them.”

The impact of technological progress and other drivers of change on the supply and demand for skills and how developing and transition countries can respond to them will be the focus of a major international conference “Skills for the Future – Managing Transition” organised by the ETF in Turin on 21-22 November 2018.​