The 3rd Steering Committee meeting was held online on Tuesday, 9 February 2020 for the “Employment and Skills Development Project” being implemented under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Syria Crisis Response and Resilience Portfolio in cooperation with the Turkish Employment Agency (ISKUR) with funding from the German Development Bank (KfW). The project aims to facilitate the access to local labour markets of Syrians under temporary protection and host community members, and is implemented in the provinces of Istanbul, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Hatay and Kilis with large Syrian population.

In responding to the impact of Syrian crisis in Turkey, the “Employment and Skills Development Project” aims to strengthen the capacity of ISKUR, Turkish Employment Agency, to meet the needs of refugees and host community members who are seeking employment opportunities. It is planned that 11000 Syrians and 11000 host community members to benefit from the advisory services provided by İŞKUR; 12000 Syrians and 12000 host community members to be registered in the İŞKUR system. In the scope of the project that focuses on increasingaccessibility for employment and livelihoods opportunities, 46000 people are planned to benefit directly.

Through the Gap Analysis Report, Capacity Development and Digital Transformation roadmaps prepared under the project, it is intended to strengthen ISKUR’s capacity to implement active labour market services and respond to service requests by job-seekers, thereby improve the employability of Syrians and host community members.

The meeting was moderated by Ms. Tuğçe Söğüt, UNDP Turkey Social Cohesion Projects Coordinator, and opening remarks were delivered by Ms. Seher Alacacı Arıner, Assistant Resident Representative (Programme), and Mr. Uğur Tunç, Deputy Head of Foreign Relations and Projects Department at ISKUR. Ms. Alacacı Arıner noted that some of the activities had to be postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic; about the project goals, she emphasized that the activities will be carried out in 2021 by adding Ankara and Adana to the existing pilot provinces.

Mr. Tunç extended his thanks to UNDP Turkey and İŞKUR for continuing activities despite COVID-19 pandemic, and emphasized the importance of the work on institutional capacity and digital transformation roadmap. He said: “We had the opportunity in 2019 to realize how on-the-mark our work on Capacity Development and Digital Transformation roadmaps was; the constraints brought on by the pandemic showed us clearly the importance of digitalization in delivery of public services.” He stated that they viewed the ongoing projects as important gains for the service-receiving target audience.

Ms. Tuğçe Söğüt, UNDP Turkey Social Cohesion Projects Coordinator, delivered a presentation on the project, providing information on the completed and ongoing activities such as setting up project offices in Ankara and project teams, holding progress meetings with ISKUR, conducting gap analysis studies and drafting the roadmap for strengthening ISKUR’s capacity and completing digital transformation.

She covered such topics as the with the Software Infrastructure Renewal Project, which is one of the ongoing sub-projects, it is determined that the software infrastructure that İŞKUR has been using for 15 years had been updated, the lack of user experience in the current system has been eliminated, and that with the services improved within the scope of the project and there will be an increase of 60-70% in the users’ orientation to the correct addresses on the website. Due to the improvement, online İŞKUR services can be accessed not only from web-based computers but also from smartphones and tablets. Ms. Söğüt added that in another sub-project; İŞKUR Data Analytics Project, it is aimed to create a data analytics strategy for İŞKUR in order to use, interpret and manage data obtained from internal and external sources accurately and quickly. In addition to the physical innovation and Business Process Management sub-project in İŞKUR offices, she provided information about completed and ongoing activities such as the Mobile İşkur Vehicle,  Job Search Support Kit to be prepared to people who will benefit from İŞKUR employment service, the establishment of a container office to serve İŞKUR Hatay Provincial Directorate, renovation works in İŞKUR Altındağ / Information building, establishment of İŞKUR Business Club in a pilot province to be determined.

An extension to the end of 2021 is expected for the “Employment and Skills Development Project” which will contribute to enhancing İŞKUR’s institutional capacity and accountability mechanisms to assure a more enabling environment for sustainable, job-rich growth and development for all women and men while promoting the access of Syrians under temporary protection and host community members to access local job opportunities.

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