Skills Pledge to provide work-based safe learning opportunities to millions of children launched today

17 January 2023
skills pledge

ANKARA, 17 January 2023 – Ministry of National Education (MoNE), TOBB (The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye), UNICEF Türkiye and members of the UNICEF Türkiye Business Advisory Board (BAB) came together today to launch the Mesleki Beceri Seferberliği (Skills Pledge) campaign.

The campaign aims to mobilize private sector companies in Türkiye to provide opportunities for technical and vocational education students to learn at the workplace and acquire relevant skills that will enhance their employability. Employers are invited to register at Mesleğim Hayatım İş ve Staj Portalı ( to access a pool of over 1.2 million students who are ready to enroll in these work-based safe learning and internship opportunities.

The Skills pledge aims to support the development of skilled and technical workforce across all sectors of the Turkish economy to raise awareness on the potential benefits that skilled workforce created through work-based learning can bring to businesses and to raise awareness of young people and their families on the importance of work-based learning for enhancing future employment and career opportunities. The Skills Pledge Programme also contributes to the improvement of the public perception of technical and vocational education.

The challenges can be overcome if adolescents are equipped and empowered with the skills necessary to support their social and economic integration through cross-sectoral programming. In parallel, the efficiency of the private sector is restrained due to persistent skills shortages matching the needs of the employers which in turn contributes to sub-optimum employment rates and constrained economic development. As of 2021, 5% of firms with 2 or more employees (around 72,000) had active vacancies for a total of 231,000 jobs, pointing out the need for a pool of new entrants to the labor market equipped with relevant skills and competencies.

This initiative is supported by the UNICEF BAB which will advocate for and disseminate the campaign across the country at a time when the country is prioritizing increasing the number of young people in work-based learning programmes. The UNICEF’s BAB is made up of major Turkish companies and business associations including Anadolu Birlik, Carrefour SA, Unilever, Dell Türkiye, Doğan Holding, Endeavor Türkiye, Garanti BBVA, Microsoft, SAP Türkiye, TOBB, Turkcell, TÜSİAD, Genc Liderler Konseyi, UNICEF Türkiye Milli Komitesi.

Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Representative to Türkiye said: “Today a large number of young people across the globe find themselves not to have the right skills to take up the jobs available today and even less the skills to be required in the future while the business world struggle to find the talented workforce they need to operate, innovate and grow their business in a fast changing world. This is why, UNICEF uses its convening power to create and develop close partnerships between all key stakeholders. Public-private partnerships are key to better align the skills demand and supply and enhance opportunities for young people. My sincere thanks to all partners for standing behind this skills pledge initiative and make a difference in the lives of so many young people.”

M.Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, The President of TOBB said: “Through the Mesleğim Hayatım İş ve Staj Programı Protocol that we initiated with our Ministry of National Education, we have paved the way for the private sector to start recruiting interns from vocational high schools and employing graduates. UNICEF and the Business Advisory Board is supporting this initiative that we started as the Ministry of National Education and TOBB. With this Campaign that is called the Skills Pledge, members of the UNICEF Business Advisory Board which are the leading business entities and companies of Türkiye are pledging to support the Mesleğim Hayatım Portal and recruit interns and provide employment to the graduates within the bounds of possibility and when there are suitable positions. I am thanking UNICEF and the Business Advisory Board for this approach that they have. And I am inviting all the companies in our country to join this campaign and provide internships and employment to the students of vocational education. We are working together with the Ministry of National Education to both improve the quality of vocational education and also to lead students in the direction of choosing vocational education. Because we believe human capital is the anchor of the competitiveness of the private sector.

In his speech, Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer said: “As the Ministry of National Education, we will strengthen vocational education even more, and cooperate with you to quickly train the human resources needed by the labor market. The vocational skills mobilization that we will start here today and the cooperation we have established on the basis of science and technology will be an important step not only for our students but also for the business world. Especially with the activities we have carried out regarding vocational and technical education in recent years:

* The number of apprentices and journeymen in vocational training centers has exceeded 7 times in a short period of 1 year, from 159 thousand to 1 million 200 thousand,

* The vocational training center compensation program has been started for high school, associate and undergraduate graduates, and the number of registered students has reached approximately 600 thousand as of the end of 2022,

*Vocational training centers or liaison offices have been established in all organized industrial zones,

*Vocational high schools, where no one once wanted to go; but now it has turned into high schools that accept students from the 1 percent slice. The occupancy rate of vocational education institutions that accept students by examination has increased to 99 percent in 2022,

*While 3 registrations are taken annually in vocational education, 8,300 products have been registered this year and 162 of these products have been commercialized. Vocational high schools have started to export abroad,

*Vocational high schools have reached a production capacity of 2 billion.”

Media contacts

Sema Hosta
Chief of Communication
UNICEF in Türkiye
Tel: + 90 312 454 10 10


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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