Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

TOBB takes action for “Expert Hands”

14.11.2018 / Ankara

Led by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in partnership with Turkey Economic Policies Research Foundation (TEPAV), implemented with European Union finance, the Expert Hands Project (“Mahir Eller” Project) will determine the professional skills of 30,000 people and competence of 20,000 people will be documented; employment will be provided for 3,000 people.​

The launch meeting of Expert Hands Project was hosted by TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu and was attended by Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk and the Head of EU Delegation Ambassador Christian Berger.

TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu said in his speech that Turkey is confronted with the most severe refugee problem since World War II. Reporting that 7 million Syrians have been forced to leave their country during the civil war, Hisarcıklıoğlu said that half of these people were accommodated in Turkey.

Hisarcıklıoğlu, pointing out that 32 billion US have been spent to facilitate the lives of Syrians in Turkey, “We wrap the wounds in our region in order to ensure peace and tranquility. Because we know there is no trade without peace and no prosperity without trade. Therefore, the asylum issue, is as much an economics issues as it is a political one. We are working to heal the wounds to the economy while our government is working to heal the political wounds.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu reported that the project will first focus on Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Hatay, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, Kilis, Konya, Mardin, Mersin and Şanlıurfa which are hosting the most Syrians; and that they aimed to reach people with vocational proficiency, experience and in search of better working conditions.

- “Our government showed that they stand with us.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu, stating that project participants will find work easier as well as contributing to companies and Turkey, said:

“I would like to invite all of our companies in our 12 cities to become volunteer employers to ‘live together and work together.’ Our government has shown that they stand with us. 10% of the total cost for the new employer will be met for 6 months during the project. Our employers will be able to receive consultancy from our chambers in 12 cities for all processes in this project.”

Stating that this project is not just an employment project, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that 30,000 people will increase their professional proficiency and skills.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they are aiming to maintain a 35-65% rate between Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens throughout the project, “It is not only our refugee brothers which will benefit from it but all of Turkey.”

- What will the Expert Hands Project bring?

With this project, TOBB is implementing an important project for the participation of Syrians under temporary protection and Turkish citizens in economic life. The project is financed by the European Union and has a budget of 15 million Euros. Conducted in partnership by TOBB and Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), “Living and Working Together: Syrians Under Temporary Protection in Turkey Economy Integration – Expert Hands Project” aims to reach a total of 30,000 people.

Launched with the slogan “Document your profession, make a difference”, the main objective of the project is to increase the employability of Syrians under temporary protection and Turkish citizens by documenting their current professional skills.

- 3,000 people to be employed

Two-year-long “Expert Hands Project” will be implemented in Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Hatay, Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri, Kilis, Konya, Mardin, Mersin and Şanlıurfa in which the Syrian population under temporary protection in Turkey are mostly located. Within the scope of the project which will be realized in cooperation with Chambers of Commerce and Industry in these provinces, a skill map of 30,000 will be formed and their professional competencies will be determined. Of these, 20,000 will be taken into professional qualification examinations and 15,000 will be certified. 3,000 people will be employed. In addition, 2,000 people will benefit from Turkish language courses.

- Everybody will win

There will be incentives for every sector in the project. Syrian refugees working or seeking temporary employment and Turkish citizens, as well as vocational and technical education students preparing to enter the labor market can participate in the project.

Approximately 1,000 firms are targeted to be voluntary employers in 12 provinces where the project will be implemented. The firms will have the opportunity to employ people who are certified with professional qualifications. They will have the opportunity to certify their professional qualifications free of charge as a part of the project. In addition, various incentives will be given for the companies which employ people as a part of the project. These incentives will be for the payment of work permit fees and 10 percent of the total cost of the new employee for 6 months. Employers will benefit from this incentive for all employees employed as a part of the project. In the process, companies will receive consultation on the legal processes related to the employment of Syrians under temporary protection.

- Many Firsts

The project embodies many firsts in Turkey. The project will enable individuals with a profession to certify their professional qualifications to make it easier to find jobs in appropriate fields. The certification will be carried out through examinations by authorized certification bodies within the framework of the national qualifications issued by the Vocational Qualification Authority.

With this project, the needs analysis of the labor market in provinces will be carried out. Professional knowledge and skills of the people living in the region will be determined. People who can’t provide any diploma or certificate in war conditions can have a document proving their skills. The basic skill needs of a thousand companies operating will be determined.

Currently there is no other project which aims to provide 20,000 people with professional certification exams and facilitate the employment of 3,000 people. TOBB's leadership as the umbrella organization of the private sector in Turkey in the realization of the most important "Expert Hands Project" stands out among the factors which makes stand out.

- Where does the project name come from?

“Mahir,” a word of Arabic origin, means skilled, expert, knows his job, master. Mahir Eller (Expert Hands) is the master of his profession, a veteran of his profession, those with professional qualification. With this project, it is aimed to reach out to the people who seek to have better working conditions by proving that they have professional competence and accumulation. The project calls out the slogan, “For a better life, for a better job; Document your profession, stand out,” to those who are proficient in their profession.

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