UNDP in Ukraine is focused on employment of the most vulnerableJun 28, 2015
For more than 20 years, UNDP has been working in Ukraine to overcome poverty, reduce inequality, and improve living standards. In the current time of turbulence, UNDP is committed to expand its activities in response to the economic, social, and humanitarian situation in the country, and to facilitate its sustainable development.
“The conflict in Eastern Ukraine continues to negatively affect the country and job security is becoming increasingly important in this time of turbulence. Understanding the needs of emerging vulnerable groups, UNDP works in close cooperation with the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, the State Employment Service, and other partners to provide new professional and re-qualification opportunities to persons with disabilities, those of senior age, youth, and most recently, to internally displaced people and ex-combatants,” highlighted Janthomas Hiemstra, UNDP Country Director at the International Conference “The Labour Market in Ukraine: European Dimension”.
The International Conference, which took place on June 25, 2015 in Kyiv, was organized by the State Employment Service of Ukraine jointly with the Ministry of Social Policy, and with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Ukraine, and ILO. It aimed to provide insight into global, regional and national labour markets through establishing a knowledge sharing platform between foreign and local institutions. Themain objective of the conference was to strengthen the capacity of government institutions and social partners to address the current challenges in the labour market of Ukraine, assess the prospects for employment policy development in Ukraine, and introduce essential legislative changes based on the best European practices.
During the conference Vesna Dzuteska-Bisheva, the UNDP Employment Specialist from the Istanbul Regional Hub, cited the positive experience with employment policy and programme practices in Balkan countries: “For two decades Balkan countries experienced severe employment problems. One of the reasons was a mismatch of skills; 25% of vacancies could not be filled due to this factor. Government employment policies were sectorial and primarily focused on skills development, assuming that businesses would generate jobs and then hire skilled workers, but this approach resulted in an increase in the jobless rate and a hiring gap. The new generation of employment policies in Balkan countries have become increasingly holistic and aligned with social protection and inclusion, education, regional development, natural resource management, and disaster risk reduction. The UNDP response was to form Development Solutions Teams (DSTs) comprised of experts and development practitioners with different backgrounds such as employment, social protection/inclusion, green economies, governance, inequalities, area-based development, and gender. DSTs offer countries support with designing and implementing employment programmes, development of knowledge products and platforms for peer exchange of experience, and good practice.”
To respond to the critical youth unemployment rates in Ukraine, the UNDP launched the project “Strengthening National Capacity for Effective Youth Development and HIV/AIDS Response in Ukraine” in 2014. During the conference Vira Profazi, UNDP Project Manager, explained: “In today’s shifting labour market demands and diminished job security, it is becoming increasingly important for young people to thoroughly consider their choice of education and occupation, and the implications of this choice for their future. At present, a large number of young people face significant difficulties entering the labour market. One of the reasons for this is inadequate career services in schools and a lack of modern online career guidance resources and tools. Although career guidance portals for youth are very popular in Europe and elsewhere, they do not exist in Ukraine. In response to this challenge UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, developed a career guidance website for high school students: www.mycareer.org.ua. The website aims to help young people learn about work prospects and assist them with their career choices.”
Other UNDP efforts towards employment support in Ukraine include, but are not limited to, the following:
- In 2008 UNDP, with ILO, launched the three-year Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities through Access to Employment Project. The project aimed to strengthen the institutional capacity of the State Employment Service in the provision of employment promotion services to people with disabilities through implementing a new methodology and capacity development of employment service personnel and their partners, as well as raising awareness of job placement and employment among the target group. The main results of the project were a decreased unemployment rate among clients with disabilities and a shortened job search period in the employment centres that had applied the new methodology.
- Within the UNDP joint programme with ILO, UNICEF, and WHO, “Promoting Mainstream Polices and Services for People with Disabilities in Ukraine” (funded by UNPRPD with UNDP and UNICEF co-sharing in 2012-2015), UNDP facilitated the development of the model for job support and coaching services for persons with disabilities. The model was developed and submitted for implementation to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine in March 2015.
- In 2014 the UNDP signed a MOU with the State Employment Service to cooperate in the areas of employment, migration, re-training of citizens over 45 years old, and support for youth employment and entrepreneurship. In particular the memorandum provided for the introduction of innovative evidence-based youth employment models that can be further replicated throughout the country, notably in the areas of early career guidance, support for youth entrepreneurship, and reducing the gap between education providers and employers, and other initiatives in facilitating the provision of a first workplace.
- In 2014-2015, within the UNDP project “Support to the Social Sector Reform in Ukraine”, the current system of re-training vouchers for citizens over 45 years was assessed and reform over three stages was recommended to the State Employment Service, based on international best practices.
- UNDP mobilized funding from the Government of Japan for two projects: “Rapid Response to Social and Economic Issues of Internally Displaced People” (USD 6.3 million) and “Economic Recovery of Donbas Region” (USD 5 million). Both projects include activities aimed at co-financing for establishing work places (both temporary and permanent) and small grants to start, re-establish or expand SME, together with training, legal, and consulting services.
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