Young people are one of the most underprivileged groups in Armenia. Having the energy and capacity to perform, this age group is stuck in apathy, unemployment, migration and disengagement. The upcoming shortfall of labor age people is expected in many sectors of the industry in Armenia. Accelerated speed of technology and social change along with automation, digital transformation and other global economic trends increasingly disrupt Armenia’s labor market. Still, qualification mismatch is by far the most intensely studied type of mismatch in Armenia. In the meantime, global trends offer a range of opportunities, which allow an individual to emancipate from his context and to pursue an individual development path. This includes self-employment and self-coaching opportunities, a liberalized access to networks and opportunities, a faster development track for a motivated and capacitated person.
UNDP/Kolba Lab, a pioneer in application of social innovation and foresight methodologies, launched “Future Skills and Jobs for Armenian Rural Youth” with the support from Russian Federation. The overarching goal of the project is to build aspiration towards positive future and expanded economic opportunities for Armenian youth. The project covers four especially vulnerable regions of Armenia (Lori, Shirak, Tavush, Gegharkunik) and helps with needs assessment and identification of future job opportunities; agile skill building among large groups of young people and promotion of alternative economic opportunities, focusing on self-employment, remote and freelance employment formats and start-up opportunities for local youth.
Two major Russian counterparts are helping with expertise and guide the project – Skolkovo School of Management and Higher School of Economics (academic and methodological support).
Some results so far
· Local needs assessment conducted in each regions, research packages published.
· Large-scale participatory foresight sessions conducted in three priority areas of the project: tourism, agriculture and food processing and creative industry. Future Skills map compiled for each industry.
· Four regional Opportunities Fairs organised, bridging the emerging labor supply with the industry, opening up dialogue platform for local employers and job seekers, as well as providing career orientation consultancy to all interested visitors.
· Trainings for local pool of experts on future modelling and foresight methodology conducted in Armenia by Skolkovo School of Management and Higher School of Economics
· Entrepreneurship and business idea generation crush courses conducted in each target region.
· Kolba Jobs platform launched. Public digital platform providing guidance on remote and freelance employment opportunities and up-skilling and re-skilling schemes for local community
· Three thematic innovation challenges (agriculture, tourism and creative industry) announced, resulting in more than 10 start-ups from target regions entering Kolba Lab’s idea incubator.
The project is supported by the Russian Federation and implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure.