Decent work for all

01 Aug 2009

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With the youth unemployment rate at 27.5%* doubling that of national unemployment and population outgrowing employment rates, youth in Turkey occupy the most disadvantaged portion of the labor market, finding it increasingly difficult to obtain decent jobs. 

New Horizons - In order to ease the plethora of problems brought about by unemployment a joint programme called Decent Employment for Everyone: Youth Employment Programme in Antalya was recently launched by the UN agencies in partnership with the Turkish Employment Organization.

At the launching event held in mid-July in Antalya, Turkish Employment Organization (ISKUR) General Director Namık Ata highlighted employment policies and projects implemented at the organization while pointing to close ties with the United Nations. 

In her speech, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Ulrika Richardson - Golinski stressed the importance of the issue of youth employment in the progress towards the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) especially given the challenges presented by the ongoing financial crisis. Golinski explained that the programme will specifically target “those who are generally ignored in employment policies, i.e. young women and disadvantaged youth”. One of the main reasons Antalya was chosen as a pilot province was outlined as the city’s excellent stakeholder structure with an operating ISKUR office as well as an active city council.

Reminding the audience that Antalya is the highest migration receiving city, deputy governor Mehmet Seyman emphasized that the most critical consequence of youth employment is the creation of a huge gap between market needs and existing human resources. In addition, Seyman drew attention to the flawless cooperation between ISKUR and non-governmental organizations in Antalya which has made the city become an ideal pilot region for the implementation of the joint programme.

UNDP Poverty Reduction Programme Manager Berna Bayazıt laid out the objectives of the programme in her presentation as follows: to develop an information infrastructure which will increase the recruitment of young women and men by preparing a long-term profession visibility model, providing support to local partners in opening employment opportunities, developing ISKUR’s administrative and technical capacities, taking measures to ensure the participation of new immigrants to the workforce, and determining new sectors for employment.

Following Bayazıt’s presentation, discussions concentrated heavily on contribution and support from local partners. Furthermore, the inclusion of the Akdeniz University Entrepreneurship Center in the programme, the development of employment measures to encompass the disabled and the need for special emphasis on the agricultural sector which largely employs migrant families were also among the issues considered.

Initial steps to develop a National Youth Employment Action Plan within the programme scope have been taken at the launch event. In order to implement this action plan, activities to cultivate employment programmes targeting young women and men from migrant families in Antalya with capacity developing initiatives will be held with the support from all UN agencies involved in the joint programme.

The UN Agencies which will run the initiative together with the Turkish Employment Organization are the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

[*] Turkish Statistical Institute Household Laborforce Survey March 2009 Results