Career guidance to the youth of southeastern Turkey: "E-coaching"

01 Jun 2006

- Welcome dear Minister. Thank you for sparing your time to support us in this project.

- Welcome yourself.

-  Why did you choose to become a politician?

-  Because politics is a means of being useful to people.

-  What are the advantages and disadvantages of your profession?

-  Both its advantage and disadvantage is to be a well-known person in the society.

-  What would be your valuable suggestions to young people like myself who aim to make a career in your profession?

Try to get along well with everybody, be nice to people, don't hurt anybody , and let love and caring for people be your basic philosophy. I wish you success.

New Horizons - People who attended the meeting at the Conference Hall of the GAP Regional Development Agency in Ankara on 16th May, held to introduce the new website which is designed to assist young people of Southeastern Turkey in choosing their future careers, witnessed this on-line chat between a young man from the GAP region and his “e-coach” Secretary of State and Deputy Prime Minister Abdülatif Sener. Other participants, including Ambassador of Switzerland Walter Gyger and UNDP Representative in Turkey Jakob Simonsen, also acted as “e-coach” to other youngsters who aspired to become diplomats and had similar on-line chats.

“E-Coaching” is one of the projects aimed at young people in Southeastern Turkey , within the framework of the “Reducing Socio-Economic Differences in the GAP Region” programme, which is jointly conducted by the UNDP and the GAP Regional Development Agency. The project enables young people of the GAP region to meet, over the electronic medium, with professionals and university students working or studying in different career areas, to share their knowledge and experiences, and receive guidence in making future career plans. According to the requests coming from the youngsters, the website focuses on giving information on a different professional subject and the related university departments, each week.

In his opening speech at the meeting, President of the GAP Regional Development Agency Muammer Yaşar Özgül said, “GAP is full of dynamic young people; it has a huge potential. Needless to say, the locomotive of the development of our region is this young population, open to innovations and progress. In order to attract the private sector to our part of the country, we must educate our youth, and create a new generation who knows what to do, when and how. With this goal in mind, our GAP Agency is working on many great projects.”

UNDP Turkey Representative Jakob Simonsen commented on the necessity of focusing on the education of young people, even in well-advanced countries, and pointed out that the youth living in disadvantaged regions, such as Southeastern Anatolia, deserves even more attention and caring. Simonsen said that this website project is limited to the GAP region for the time being, but they are aiming to reach 250 young people by the end of June, 2006. Simonsen invited everybody to volunteer in “e-coaching”.

Secretary of State and Deputy Prime Minister Abdüllatif Şener also gave a speech at the meeting, saying that members of the same professional groups share information on the internet, even if they come from different countries. Şener added that youth is the future of a country, the driving force and carrier of progress; and by sharing the experiences of successful professionals through e-coaching and learning about their views on life and work, young people can also orientate their lives in a positive direction.

Speaking on behalf of the Swiss Government, which provides financial aid to the project, Ambassador Walter Gyger said they enthusiastically support this project and admire the efforts of UNDP and GAP Regional Development Agency. Reminding that Switzerland's formal involvement in this project will soon be over, Mr. Gyger said their partnership has indeed been very satisfactory in achieving sustainable results in Southeastern Turkey and in reaching the least advantaged groups in the Region.

As of March 2006, 148 young persons from the GAP Region have received guidance from 58 “e-coaches” in career building. Currently, 369 more young people anticipate the support of the “e-coaching” project, while 223 volunteer professionals have registered themselves to give guidance over the internet.