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3rd of the Project Steering Committee Meeting was Held

3rd Project Steering Committee Meeting of Mahir Eller Project, which was funded by the European Union under the leadership of TOBB with the partnership of Turkey Economic Policies Research Foundation (TEPAV) in cooperation with the Commerce and Industry Chambers in 12 provinces, was held.

The meeting, which was held via Zoom with participation of many stakeholders, started with the opening speech of Mustafa Bayburtlu, Head of the TOBB European Union and Foreign Relations Department. The Program Manager Alessandro Budai spoke on behalf of the European Commission at the meeting. In his speech, Budai drew attention to the fact that there are groups adversely affected by the pandemic and that employment problems arise among the certified candidates and Syrians.


Project Coordinator Sinem Soylu gave general information about the progress of the project in her presentation. Stating that the goal of creating skill maps of 30 thousand people has already been exceeded, Soylu said “we also have targets for 20 thousand people to take certification exams, 15 thousand people to be certified and 3 thousand candidates to be employed within the project. However, it seems difficult to reach these numbers under current conditions".

In her speech, Soylu stated that Mahir Eller Project has contributed to the increase of the capacities of Authorized Certification Bodies (YBK) thanks to the translation of 55 documents into Arabic in 38 certification areas.


TEPAV Team Leader Şenay Akyıldız commented on the data from the field and shared the findings of the research studies in her presentation. There were striking data in Akyıldız's presentation.

The results of the research surveys conducted in the project implementation provinces were one of those data. According to this; 47.7 percent of Syrians under Temporary Protection (TPP) and 8 percent of Turkish citizens work informally. This data on Syrians under Temporary Protection was interpreted at the meeting as the GKAS did not want to take part in registered employment due to the aid provided under the name of Red Crescent Card and similar 'social cohesion', therefore the financial incentives provided by the project were not benefited. The presentation emphasized the importance of "Mahir Eller" Project, which encourages registered employment, covers the costs of the work permit from the project and provides a monthly support of 290 Euros to the employer for 6 months for the certified workforce.

Project Team Leader Akyıldız also shared the field data. Akyıldız shared the information that the success rate in the first entry to the vocational qualification exams was 30 percent for GKAS and 46 percent for Turkish citizens. The Team Leader underlined that while the success rate of Turkish citizens increased in the second and third exam trials and the Syrians did not make much progress.


At the meeting, where the negative impact of the pandemic on the labor market was mentioned, it was underlined that the construction sector is the sector with the highest number of layoffs. It was also emphasized at the meeting that Syrians were affected more by this process than Turkish citizens and 88 percent of them lost their income. The information that unemployment is higher in southeastern provinces due to the pandemic was presented among the findings of the study.

General Secretary of Adana Chamber of Industry, Bora Kocaman stated that a local capacity was built in the chambers where the project was carried out, that the project staff had a competent communication network and that significant progress was made in bringing practical solutions to the problems in the field. Speaking on behalf of Istanbul Chamber of Industry, Education and Working Life Branch Manager Hakan Çoban expressed his opinion that this joint work with TOBB and the European Union will continue to expand in similar areas. Representatives of the other project partner chambers in the meeting also expressed their agreement with Çoban in this direction and expressed that they are ready for future collaboration opportunities.