Entrepreneurship & On-the-job Training: Youth Employment

Entrepreneurship & On-the-job Training: Youth Employment

If we say what are the most important long-term problems that Turkey should focus on; we can probably say “Employment and Youth”. I think most of us know that increasing employment, directing young people to the right jobs and raising awareness of their entrepreneurship in the best way is one of the most important issues in Turkey. So what are we doing about it? In this article, I wanted to make a short analysis and to introduce a very valuable project by referring to this.

Youth employment is one of the top priorities of our country, as it is all over the world. As the International Labor Organization underlines, the world is facing a youth employment crisis; young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, and it is predicted that 75 million young people (12.6% of the youth population) will be unemployed in the world in 2013. The situation in our country is not different from this. According to the data of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), 16.6% of the country’s population is young (12.5 million young), and the unemployment rate of this population was 17.5% in 2012.[1] Undoubtedly, the high youth population is one of Turkey’s greatest assets, but turning this resource into an advantage will only be possible by increasing youth employment.

TUIK, 17 May 2013 Total population Young Population
Labor force participation rate % 50 % 38.2
Unemployment rate % 9.2 % 17.5
Non-agricultural unemployment rate % 11.5 % 20.8

TURKSTAT, May 2013

Youth unemployment is not limited to developing or underdeveloped countries, on the contrary, this problem is combined with different dynamics such as international migration, etc. in developed countries leading to even bigger crises. Based on this, we can say that youth employment is one of the top priorities of the European Union. Between 26 May – 2 June 2013, hundreds of events were held in EU countries that celebrated the European Youth Week and the 25th Anniversary of European Youth Programs was celebrated. The European Employment Strategy, of which one of its 8 main objectives is employment and entrepreneurship, aims to provide more and equal opportunities to young people in education and the labor market and to encourage young people to be more active and participatory in society. Youth unemployment, which was 23.7% in the EU in the last quarter of 2012, was 57.9% in Greece, 55.2% in Spain, 36.9% in Italy, 38.4% in Portugal and even in England and France, which are more developed than these countries, it was recorded as 20.7 and 25.4%.[2] As can be seen, the situation is dire and requires urgent intervention.

The “Youth Employment Support (GİD) Operation”, implemented with the aim of increasing youth employment in Turkey, contributes to the increase of youth employment in our country through both on-the-job training and the development of youth entrepreneurship. With an overview of the actions being carried out under the scope of GID, which is cofinanced by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey, of which the Contract Authority is the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Department of EU Coordination and which has been carried out since September of 2011 by Turkish Employment Agency with the technical support of Project Group and WYG Consortium, we asked how we could do better and thought with Onur Kayalar, a Project Director from WYG Turkey, and Deniz Tekeli, Project Group Operation Director, and compiled this article.

The operation is framed by the concepts of entrepreneurship and internship / on-the-job training, which are its two main components. The activities implemented / being implemented within the scope of entrepreneurship aim to increase the entrepreneurial capacity of young people. Within the scope of on-the-job training / internship component, steps are taken to increase the communication between universities and employers and to provide more opportunities for young people in these matters.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Handbook, one of the first and most important outputs of the operation, was prepared in the form of an interactive DVD and distributed as part of the Career and Entrepreneurship Days, held in 11 of the 15 Growth Centers and attended by over 4500 young people in total. The DVD in question guides young people step-by-step on how they can start a business, what stages they can go through and how they can start a smooth and sustainable venture. The said content is also published on the Operation’s website – www.gencistihdami.net – .

In addition, entrepreneurship training was given to 100 young people in each province for one and a half months in cooperation with KOSGEB and universities in these provinces under the leadership of international and local experts in the 5 pilot provinces of the operation (Kahramanmaraş, Malatya, Mardin, Rize, Sivas) in collaboration with KOSGEB and universities in these provinces and EU certificates were given to the young people who participated. Young people who received a certificate of participation as a result of the trainings were entitled to receive a grant of 30,000 TL provided by KOSGEB for young entrepreneurs. Again, coaching and consultancy services by Operations experts and İŞKUR Job and Vocational Counselors will continue throughout the months of June-August to an average of 20 young people who are selected from among these young people and will help them embody their project ideas and establish their own businesses.

Youth employment is one of the most important agenda items in the whole world, especially in the European Union. The European Union published the “Youth Employment Package” at the end of 2012 to combat this problem and launched a program called “Youth Employment Initiative” in February 2013 to implement it. A resource of 6 billion Euros has been allocated for this program, which targets young people who are neither in employment, education nor training. The European Union continues to support Turkey’s efforts to increase youth employment with various projects. Thanks to these projects, it is aimed to increase youth employment by increasing youth entrepreneurship, facilitating school-to-work transitions and increasing internship and on-the-job training programs in Turkey.

Numan Ozcan

Sector Manager, Social Policy and Employment

Delegation of the European Union to Turkey

The on-the-job learning component aims to increase internship / on-the-job learning opportunities for young people through the signing of cooperation agreements between universities and employers in 43 NUTS II Regions determined within the scope of the Operation.[3]  In this direction, our experts work together with İŞKUR Job and Vocational Counselors in the provinces in question and conduct interviews with at least 20 company owners and/or managers in each province, and explaining the benefits of providing internship opportunities to young people, both for themselves, for the youth, and for our country. Representatives from universities are also invited to these meetings and the benefits of signing cooperation agreements between companies and universities are promoted. In addition, the benefits of this cooperation at local and national level are announced to all relevant stakeholders.

Our goal is to write an article about these valuable developments in October – November, reflecting the results of the project mentioned here and what can be done after the project to ensure sustainability, with the support of the relevant institutions and our experts. Our goal is to create a productive world by providing the right education and job to the young people who are our future.



[1] “Youth in Statistics 2012”, Turkish Statistical Institute News Bulletin, Issue: 13509, 17 May 2013

[2] Unemployment Statistics, Eurostat, April 2013

[3] Provinces with a per capita GDP below 75% of Turkey’s average, according to the definition stated in the operating specifications.

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