PPD: Achievements in Armenia

In modern society, business associations, as part of non-governmental organizations representing the interests of the business community, play an important role in public policy-making, providing an intermediate link between the private and public sector. They are a powerful tool for protecting the rights and interests of business entities, capable of acting as intermediaries in the dialogue between business and government. Created on the initiative and with the direct participation of business community entities, these organizations occupy a special place in the system of institutions supporting private entrepreneurship.

In Armenia, it was succeeded to create an effective mechanism for public-private sector dialogue, both through the participation of business associations representing the interests of entrepreneurs, in particular, SMEs in the work of various specialized Councils, including trustees, and through the organization of joint discussions on development and support business.

It should be noted that in recent years, the activities of business associations aimed at protecting the rights of entrepreneurs have significantly intensified. This was made possible, on the one hand, by increasing the professional skills and high business activity of the entrepreneurs themselves.

On the other hand, this is facilitated by the situation that has developed in Armenia in recent years, when state authorities themselves are ready for dialogue with the business community.

The legal basis for PPD is currently in place. In July of 2019, the Law of the RA on Public-Private Partnership was adopted.

At the same time, the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia has initiated forming sectoral platforms with different stakeholder groups, aiming to stay currently aware of the problems/gaps existing in different sectors of the economy, as well as find effective ways to solve them.

To this end, the timetable for dialogue platforms by sector has drawn up by the Ministry, inviting all stakeholders and individuals to participate in it.

A modern contemporary economy face the challenge of significantly enhancing competitiveness and achieving of high-tech economic growth. Only the society with priority of knowledge and high qualification requirements is capable of attaining such objectives. A new system of professional standards, training programs for workers and specialists, liaison between education and labor market requirements is needed.

However, there is a problem in the selection of professional personnel for business, a large gap between demand and supply of labor force, professional capability. The challenge would be met only with the close cooperation of the relevant government structures and business associations.

In September 2018, representatives of the business community and the education system established the Foundation «Partnership of Business and Education». Actually, The Foundation is a link between business representatives, a system of training and retraining of personnel that

meet the modern-day requirements of the development of economy and the relevant state structures (Ministry of education, science, culture and sport, economy, labour and social affairs of the RA).

Developing and strengthening of public-private partnerships is one of the main goals of the Foundation “Business and Education-Partnership”. Highlighting the role of education and business dialogue in the development of the economy, the Foundation “Business and Education-Partnership” is a key platform for the formation of public-private sector communication and dialogue.

It is designed to bring together the strengths and opportunities of the public and private sectors to contribute to economic, educational and social development in Armenia.

Results obtained in the design and implementation of various projects includes, creation by the Foundation of new areas for cooperation and development, thus forming a unique partnership platform. By identifying the problems and requirements of the labor market in the vocational education system, the Foundation also carries out its activities in educational reforms implemented by the Government, including elaboration of proposals for making a various changes/amendments in laws.

Collaborative activities carried out by the Foundation “Business and Education-Partnership” are an objective necessity in Armenia. Primarily, it is targeted at the development of the economic environment in the regions, identifying of professions/specialties that are in demand on job market through connecting education and business, job creation and provision of trained professional staff in the regions, thus contributing to the prevention of internal and external migration.

Highlighting the activities carried out by the Foundation in the above-mentioned directions, the Foundation “Business and Education – Partnership” was selected as a partner for the implementation in Armenia of the “Vocational Education and Training (VET) – Cooperation” South Caucasus regional Program of the German Federation. The main goal of the project is to promote the employment of young people in Armenia by raising their professional knowledge and skills resulting from the introduction of the German dual system.

Within the frameworks of the project, a number of activities has been implemented that aiming at the choice of youth vocational education, their competitiveness rise in the labor market, including vocational/career guidance for schoolchildren, and the development of their entrepreneurial and technical thinking.

At the same time, the activities were developed and conducted aimed at the study of the labor market, the development of cooperation between VET institutions and the business community. To this end, an electronic platform for the study and analysis of the labor market has been set up - the “Labor Market Analysis-Monitoring” system, which provides information on the professions in demand, job vacancies, internships in private companies, students or interns, job seekers, etc.

The system promotes employer engagement in the development of VET programs and standards by minimizing the gap in demand for professions and professional staff in the labor market, as well as by creating relevant internships in organizations with further guiding the students gained practical knowledge and skills in VET institutions to the vocational job market.

Within the framework of the program every year the labor market research is conducted, the results of which are presented and discussed in the convened workshops and roundtable discussions with the partner structures of the Ministries of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Economy, Labor and Social Affairs, as well as enterprises, VET institutions and Project international representatives, experts.

Currently, the urgent task for the Foundation is to expand its activities through participation in international structures in order to familiarize themselves with foreign experience, establish contacts with foreign colleagues, and participate in international organizations, forums and projects.

The founders of the Fund made a unanimous decision to join the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum's National Platform in Armenia. In May 2018, the co-founder of the Fund, Marina Zhamkochian, participated in a meeting of the working group in Minsk dedicated to the PPD consortium.

Participation in the work of the EaP CSF, namely in the areas of activity of the Working Group No. 4 “Contacts between People” in the part “Creating conditions for young people to participate fully in society” and Working Group No. 5 “Social Policy, Employment Policy and Social Dialogue” will be to contribute to the accomplishment of joint objectives within the framework of the format and tasks of the working groups of the National Platform of Armenia (NPAr). The Foundation’s membership in NPAR will undoubtedly expand the dialogue and the organization’s involvement in solving common issues regarding the development of contacts between people, social policy and employment policy in the Eastern Partnership countries with the European Union.

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