Syrian Refugees and Labour Market

ILO Turkey office provides skills training for 1,330 Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens

A national plan and new investments needed to respond to the growing number of refugees, ILO Country Director says.

News | 29 September 2016
ANKARA (ILO News) – The ILO hosted a national conference in Ankara last week to share the outcomes of the first phase of its "Improving Livelihoods and Decent Work Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities" project.

The project, which was funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the US Department of State, provided 1,300 Syrians under temporary protection and Turkish citizens in the provinces of Şanlıurfa, Kilis and Gaziantep with vocational, technical, skills development and entrepreneurship courses in 11 subjects. These included courses in welding, Turkish language training, CNC programming, plastic pipe installation, hairdressing and skin care, patient admission services, woodwork and CISCO Network Systems. Successful trainees will be awarded certificates approved by the Ministry of National Education (MoNe) after competing their courses.

In his keynote address, Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office in Turkey, described the year-long project, which started in October 2105, as a “small model” making use of local dynamics to respond to the increasing number of Syrians in the country and improve access to the labour market for both refugees and host communities.

What is needed however, is the implementation of a national action plan that puts a national strategy into action in broader context.”

Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office in Turkey
Özcan emphasized the essential role of the private sector and new investment in regions densely-populated by Syrian refugees in supporting their access to the labour market. He also highlighted the introduction of work permit regulation in Turkey for Syrians as an important step in their transition from informal to formal employment and increasing opportunities for decent work.

The project included seminars in Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa provinces to inform Syrian employees and local employers about work permits for foreigners under Temporary Protection. Institutional capacity needs analysis at both a central and local level were conducted to assess the evolving needs of institutions and organizations providing employment services.

In her opening speech, Director General for Labour of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Nurcan Önder expressed her satisfaction at the Turkish government’s ongoing collaboration with the ILO, while the Ambassador of the US to Turkey, John R. Bass, said the US plans to expand the project’s scope as part of a wider effort to support Syrian refugees.

The ILO project is an important step in the identification and solution of the problems encountered by both Syrian refugees and host communities.”

Nurcan Önder, Director General for Labour of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security
The conference concluded with a panel discussion on “Decent Work Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities: Experiences and Suggestions.” Moderated by Associate Professor Kamil Orhan, panelists included representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; GAP Regional Development Administration; Gaziantep Union of Chamber of Artisans and Craftsmen, the District Governorship of Harran and the ILO’s Labour Migration Branch.

Syrian and Turkish trainees who took part in the vocational courses also shared their experiences and expectations at the conference.