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Skills4Georgia - The Georgian-German TVET Days

By Levan Abramishvili
Tuesday, June 18
On June 15-16, 1 Republic Square & Republic Event Space welcomed ‘Skills4Georgia - The Georgian-German TVET Days,’ the biggest vocational education event in Georgia to date.

The event celebrated the longstanding, fruitful cooperation between Georgia and Germany in modernizing Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Georgia.

The Georgian-German TVET Days were jointly hosted by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, and the Embassy of Germany in Georgia.

The activities consisted of a full-day public event on June 15 and two conferences.

The public event TVET Market Place and Fair, according to the official website, served to bring “the potential of TVET to revamp employment, economic development and public-private partnerships in dual TVET closer to the public.”

Visitors had the opportunity to visit numerous thematic Info Zones and learn about Georgian-German partnerships in TVET.

Aside from the informational purpose, throughout the day, visitors enjoyed concerts by Elis Band and Helen Kalandadze followed by a DJ party.

On June 15, the Expert to Expert Talks took place in the Republic Event Space. The conference brought together German and Georgian experts from the private and public sector, as well as internationally renowned TVET professors.

The topics of discussion included digitalization, international recognition of qualifications, quality assurance, and public-private cooperation.

On June 16, the conference continued with the Skills4Georgia Talks – an engaging, open-space forum on the future of TVET in Georgia. Renowned Georgian experts, business leaders, educators, and officials delivered short, creative pitches on key TVET Topics, after which, the participants had the chance to take a deep dive into a discussion on how to provide attractive career pathways in modern TVET to Georgia’s youth.

On June 14, H.E. Hubert Knirsch, German Ambassador to Georgia, held a reception on the occasion of the visit of Mr. Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany for the Georgian-German TVET Days. The reception was attended by a number of people engaged in the Georgian-German cooperation.

In his welcoming speech, the Ambassador spoke about the old and longstanding Georgian-German cooperation. He thanked the team that worked on the Skills4Georgia event for their dedication and hard work.

“We all know that we are doing exactly the right thing here, with sharing something with Georgia that is very important for Germany. Some of our best achievements in vocational training are just what this country needs,” he said.

The Ambassador also mentions the different fields in which Germany cooperates with Georgia, including, but not limited to, the rule of law, public administration, public finances, the environment with protected areas and biodiversity, etc. “It is inspiring what is being done in these fields,” he added.

He also addressed Mr. Barthle, saying that the team in Tbilisi is “ready for more cooperation, ready to take this to new heights and we hope and we trust in the continued support of the Federal Government.”

In his speech, Mr. Barthle mentioned that it was his first time in Georgia and how impressed he was with the country and the city.

He thanked the Ambassador and mentioned that vocational training is something that Germany can proudly share with others.

“I think it’s our brand, through which we can help other countries, so for me, it’s a very important event,” he said regarding the Georgian-German TVET Days.

In a talk with The Messenger, Mr. Barthle elaborated on the importance of vocational training for Georgia.

“In my experience, vocational training is the best way to give younger people a good future. If you have good education and basics of vocational training, you have a possibility to earn a lot of money in your life and to have a stable basis for the future of your profession, therefore it’s my main mission when I’m around the world to say to the countries and the people - ‘do more in the vocational training’, then you have the best basis for good future for younger people,” he said.

Mr. Barthle also spoke of the importance of the image and reputation of vocational training.

“I think in Georgia, you have a big space to scale up the vocational training to a broad movement; it’s particularly important to get a better image, that’s the most important point,” he said.

H.E. Hubert Knirsch elaborated on the works that the German experts are carrying out in Georgia.

“German experts have set up a system in Georgia, they have designed the training courses, established a complex system in colleges, in cooperation with companies, to offer vocational training. They have done this for a number of professions from winemaking to construction to IT. The number of professions and colleges where it’s offered will be growing. So far there are 200 apprentices in all of Georgia, that is still a small number, but we hope that it can grow significantly in the future,” said the Ambassador.

The co-host of the Georgian-German TVET Days, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia announced earlier this year that a diploma from a vocational school will become equalized with the general education diploma.

Since its establishment in 2005, vocational training has remained as the most problematic part of the education system of Georgia, with its inadequacy to meet the needs of the country. The complete disparity between the workforce qualification and the demand of the labor market may be at fault of high unemployment numbers and unsatisfactory rate of economic growth. The economy doesn’t require a qualification that most of the population has. Instead, what it needs, in most part, is based on the practical experience and informal training that Georgian workforce lacks.

As a part of the Georgian-German cooperation, the development of TVET is of utmost importance for the future of the country. As highlighted by Mr. Barthle, proper vocational training is not ‘less than’ the university diploma and can lead its holder to great achievements.