The EdUP project expands to include the new infrastructure component

Upskilling and Reskilling
The “Public-Private Partnership to Improved Vocational Education in Ukraine” (EdUP) at its recent Steering Committee presented a comprehensive report detailing the progress of the project for the period of November 2023 to April 2024. The report, introduced by the Project Manager, Sonja Loosli, was discussed at length and subsequently approved.

A particular focus was on the introduction of the expansion of the project’s activities, particularly an infrastructure component, now designated as the fifth component of the project.

Additional support to ten VET insititutions

This new infrastructure component aims to increase support to ten vocational education institutions located in Ukraine's southern and eastern regions. These areas have been severely affected by the ongoing Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, resulting in widespread infrastructure damage, constant air raid alarms, and significant disruption to education process posing a constant threat to students' lives.

"The main goal of this sub project is to restore ten vocational education schools following the inclusive market system approach under the slogan 'Build Back Better'. The project aims to create safe learning conditions and renew the interest of students - school graduates and adults - in vocational education."
Poshan KC, Country Director of Swisscontact in Ukraine, and Reconstruction Advisor of EdUP

The fifth component is expected to benefit over 5,000 students, teachers, and staff by providing access to safe shelters that will also function as classrooms and workshops. Reconstruction efforts are set to lower heating costs through thermal modernization and the installation of solar panels, while providing inclusive infrastructure.

Swiss Government to fund infrastructure

The infrastructure component is funded by the Swiss government, through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Viktor Shutkevych, Assistant Director of the Cooperation Office of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, announced an additional 1.9 million Swiss francs in support.

"These funds will enable us to support ten vocational education institutions from Sumy region to Odesa region. We hope that together with our partners - the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, school management, and the private sector - we will be able to combine our efforts and resources."
Viktor Shutkevych, Assistant Director of the Cooperation Office of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine.

Private sector representatives underscored the urgent need for skilled workers and voiced strong support for the project.

"Business feels an immense need for personnel because a significant part of our company's employees was mobilized, namely 31 percent. The only way to ensure production is to involve young people, specifically graduates of vocational schools."
Oleksiі Rakov, Director of GEBERIT TRADING LLС.

The Head of Distribution of Sika Ukraine LLC, Georgiy Kovalchuk said that the project holds significant importance to the company.

"We are pleasantly surprised by how talented our vocational education students are. For instance, at the Tilers’ championship, student participants were receiving job offers right during the event"
Georgiy Kovalchuk, Head of Distribution of Sika Ukraine LLC

Enabling model institutions and spreading the experience

Dmytro Zavhorodniy, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine for Digital Development, Digital Transformations, and Digitalization stated that the goal of the project is to enable such model institutions where managers and directors from other vocational schools would visit these institutions instead of going abroad to gain such experience.

“Initially, there will be ten vocational schools. And later we will extend this experience to all other VET institutions,” said Zavhorodniy.

The Steering Committee also reviewed and approved the project implementation plan for May to December 2024.

Additionally, a proposal was made to reactivate the Project Advisory Board, comprising private companies and professional associations. This board will serve as a consultative body to develop recommendations for enhancing public-private partnerships in vocational education in Ukraine.

Initial vocational education and training
Public Private Partnership to Improved Professional Education in Ukraine
The EdUP project, including its Scale UP initiative, is playing a crucial role in addressing the serious challenges faced by Ukraine's vocational education and training (VET) sector during wartime. The war has destroyed many VET schools and exacerbated a skills shortage that affects several sectors, despite employers' willingness to offer competitive wages and resources. EdUP aims to rebuild and improve vocational schools and break stereotypes about vocational graduates. By decentralising training and aligning it with local economic needs, the project will improve the quality of vocational training, attract additional resources, work with the private sector, and modernise education to equip Ukraine's workforce for today's demands.