Two Syrian refugee sisters acquire new practical job skills through a vocational training project that is ongoing in Mersin and five other provinces in Turkey this autumn. Led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the project, entitled Enhancing Agricultural Knowledge of Refugees and Host Communities to Expand Livelihood Opportunities, will provide for them a better chance of finding jobs in Turkey’s agricultural sector when the training ends later this year.
Twenty-year-old Ghuffran and her eighteen-year old sister Ramah are two out of around 500 beneficiaries, of which more than thirty percent are women, that are participating in the project. The project is co-funded by the European Union and Turkey and is aimed at unemployed refugees and host community members in the Southeastern and Western parts of Turkey.
Having completed classroom-based theoretical education in agricultural techniques, Ghuffran and Ramah are currently participating in on-the-job training at a privately-owned ornamental-plant production farm in Mersin where they get hands-on experience in cultivating flowers that will eventually reach the local market.
FAO Turkey Programme Officer Sheikh Ahaduzzaman noted that the project involves private sector participation in order to ensure beneficiaries’ integration into the labour market. FAO organises job fairs at the end of the training period in order to bring the trainees and private sector representatives together. “This helps both Syrians and locals to find jobs,” added Ahaduzzaman.
The agriculture labour market assessment conducted in Turkey by FAO in 2017 has shown that private sector agricultural production is very much in need of skilled labour. Representatives of private sector enterprises stated that they were not producing to their full capacity due to a shortage of trained workers.
A further outcome of the project is that Syrian and local beneficiaries get acquainted with each other, learn about each other’s culture and may develop a fruitful dialog as a result of training in the same workplace. “This, we believe, will serve greatly to promote social cohesion between the refugee and host communities,” said Ayşegül Selışık, FAO Assistant Representative for Turkey.
This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the FAO Representation in Turkey and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.