Five facilities set up by UNDP with Korean funding provide certified training in solar and wind energy to improve job prospects for refugees and their Turkish hosts
İskenderun, 2 August 2021 – Hundreds of Syrian refugees and their Turkish hosts will gain the skills they need to find jobs in Turkey’s rapidly expanding solar and wind power sectors thanks to a new network of renewable energy laboratories established by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Turkish Ministry of National Education. The first five provinces – Bursa, Hatay, Mersin, Kocaeli and Konya – were selected for their renewable energy potential and the presence of large numbers of refugees.
The Republic of Korea is providing USD 2.2 million to fund the initiative. In addition to the USD 1.7 million funding allocated for 2019 and 2020, an additional USD 500,000 has been granted to scale up the activities to more provinces and beneficiaries in 2022.
“Training people to work in Turkey’s renewable sector is an investment in a green future,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton, speaking at the official launch of the Iskenderun, Hatay laboratory on Friday (30 July). “This initiative will help Syrian refugees and their Turkish hosts gain the skills they need to find good jobs and support their families while giving a boost to an emerging economic sector with a growing need for skilled labour.”
The laboratories will offer a new 247-hour curriculum that was designed specifically for the programme; it incorporates training in the manufacture, installation and maintenance of solar and wind power systems. At least 500 Syrians and Turkish peers – one-fourth of them women – are expected to complete the course by March 2022. Graduates will receive official certification from the Lifelong Learning Department of the National Education Ministry.
“For Turkey to remain a competitive economy, we need a continuous effort to master new skills,” said Yusuf Büyük, Director General of the Department. “This initiative reflects a broader commitment to ensure that our workforce is ready to perform the jobs of the future.”
“Korea is proud to contribute to this innovative initiative, which will promote the self-reliance of Syrian refugees while also addressing the needs of unemployed people in Turkish host communities,” said Kang Jung, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Korean Embassy.
The five renewable energy laboratories combine theoretical instruction with hands-on practice. All have been outfitted with state-of-the art equipment for use by trainees, including solar panels, wind turbines, automation systems, electrical and electronics infrastructure, and occupational health and safety equipment. The labs are also meant to serve as research and development resources for local universities, the private sector and civil society.
The new Iskenderun facility is located at the heart of the Iskenderun Organized Industrial Zone and on the premises allocated to the Iskenderun Public Education Centre, which provides a wide variety of technical and vocational training to local adults, including Syrians resident in the district, under the Ministry of National Education’s lifelong learning approach.
The training in renewable energy skills is just one component of a larger USD 75 million UNDP programme dedicated to improving livelihoods for Syrian refugees and their host communities, supporting the delivery of public services and promoting social cohesion.