The EU allocates €3.75 million to support Armenia’s vocational education and training reforms

In April 2016 the European Union extended final assistance of €3.75 million to enhance Armenia’s vocational education and training (VET) capacity. The disbursement was allocated out of €6 million (of which 5 million budget support, 1 million technical assistance), earmarked under 2012 Eastern Partnership Integration and Cooperation (EaPIC) programme. The programme aims to open up new horizons and foster job creation for youth, which will help maximise youth involvement in local development, curb labour migration to urban areas and support poverty alleviation in regions and across the country.

The outcomes of the assistance include reform implementation across the whole VET sector of the country, provision of equal access to quality VET education for youth with special needs, recognition of non-formal and informal learning and review of VET qualifications and lists of VET professions to meet the swiftly evolving labour market needs.

As of 2016, about 4,500 students at 17 pilot colleges in all regions of Armenia and Yerevan benefited from the EU-supported reforms and the number is envisaged to grow in the near future.

Commenting on the outcomes of the EU support in the VET sector, one of the programme beneficiaries, graduate of Yerevan regional state college N2 Tehmine Sahakyan said, “The knowledge and skills I gained at the college helped me pursue higher education at Armenian State University of Economics. They largely impacted my further achievements and career. I currently work at one of Armenia’s top insurance companies as a marketing expert and agent. I recommend all those, who are still undecided on their further specialisation to choose the VET sector as solid foundation for further career development.”

Director of the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Development Tatevik Gasparyan in turn, noted, “The VET sector unlocks a range of opportunities for youth. State educational standards aimed at capacity building for the VET qualifications, educational programs and curricula are developed to meet the current labour demands.”

Within the frames of the final phase of the programme, five VET colleges, specifically those located on the border, were rehabilitated and equipped, with two more upgraded with facilities for physically impaired students. Another essential outcome of the programme is the development of 3-year business plans and conduction of own market research at all regional colleges. Development of business plans has been hailed by college managers in terms of sustainable financial management of VET institutions.

The assistance programme incorporates international best practices and visions for innovation and enhancement of VET education aligning them with the local market needs.