First Things First: A Decent Job for a Decent Life

“My hope was sparked when I first saw this project on social media, and I was correct in my prediction. The most significant benefit for me was the rise in my self-esteem that came as a result of the encouragement and assistance I received throughout the process,” explains Mohammed Al Ali, a 36-year-old Syrian refugee father of three.

Muhammed is a beneficiary of the IOM-led Vocational Training for Unemployed Refugees and Host Community Members project in Gaziantep, which is being carried out in collaboration with the Gaziantep Chamber of Industry.

For migrants and locals alike, this project aims to support both the supply and demand sides of the Gaziantep labour market to create long-term employment opportunities.

Creating livelihood solutions significantly impacts society. A city's socio-cultural and socio-economic structures experience severe challenges when people cannot count on a regular source of income due to the widespread impact of unemployment.

Additionally, this project was designed to reduce the negative effects of the labour market during the two years of COVID 19.

“At the start of the project, the COVID-19 epidemic's effects were beginning to fade, and markets were reviving, so labour demand was increasing. As a result of our training and experience, we were well-prepared for these opportunities," Muhammed says.

Today, Muhammed has a good job in the Gaziantep industrial area. "Toward the end of the training, I started going to job interviews. As part of the project, we had mentors' support, and they participate in interviews with us during these crucial stages. It was crucial because it fostered a sense of mutual respect between me and my employer."

It is difficult to participate in the formal labour force as a migrant; you may lack insurance and a legal work permit, which means you have no rights. Nonetheless, a partnership between institutions gave me confidence in the project, as I knew I would have my legal documents. Today, I have my insurance and a work permit!”

A total of 64 beneficiaries attended the two different trainings about packaging and basic ready wear, while Syrian beneficiaries were supported with Turkish language courses. Furthermore, all beneficiaries received life skills courses, which included occupational health and safety, work ethics, communication skills, body language, hygiene, labour legislation, and job hunting.

The project includes a social component. All the classes were mixed, with both migrant and host community members present.

Funda is one of the project's Turkish beneficiaries. She is now employed in a manufacturing facility, where she puts her packaging training to good use. "All of the information I learned in class is still fresh in my mind. This knowledge has served me well throughout my journey," she says.

For the first time, Funda has made friends with the migrant community in her native city of Gaziantep, which is home to many Syrian refugees. "We still see each other with my classmates from the course," she says. 

İbrahim Çalı is project director at GSO. "There is a gathering of persons in society who are out of work. We make every effort to integrate them into the labour force. Creating a well-trained workforce is one of the ways we help the system work." 

With financial assistance from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, IOM Türkiye works with local and governmental organisations to develop a better livelihood solution for migrants and host communities under the Refugee Response Programme.