EU Record Aid to Tunisia Under Scrutiny

EU Grant to Vocational Training Program

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On 26 January the European Union, with Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment, launched a ‘Support Program for Professional Training and Integration’ (PAFIP-Programme d’Appui à la Formation et à l’Insertion Professionnelle) with a 3,000,000 Euro grant.

The grant supplements the project which is funded with a 24.7 million Euro loan from the French Development Agency.

The PAFIP program “aims to improve the quality of training” and is “in perfect synergy and complementarity with a broader EU initiative, focusing on supporting the most disadvantaged regions: The .” according to a statement made at the announcement of the grant.

The press conference for jobs in the interior, was announced at a five star hotel in Hammamet and was attended by the , Zied Laadhari as well as representatives from Tunisian Union of Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts (UTICA) and the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT).  The European Union delegation included Armelle Lidou, Chief of Cooperation to the European Union Delegation to Tunisia and the French Ambassador to Tunisia François Gouyette.

The Regional initiative for support of sustainable economic development, is a 32 million Euro European Union project which “aims to boost the competitiveness of enterprises and employability in the regions of Kasserine, Gafsa, Sidi Bouzid, Médenine, Sfax, Gabes, Bizerte and Jendouba, while supporting improvements in the provision of professional training.”

Speaking at a press conference in Tunis, earlier in January, following a meeting entitled: “Vocational training and Business Needs” (La formation professionnelle et les besoins de l’entreprise), Laadhari admitted that vocational training and professional education programs in Tunisia did not meet the real world needs of businesses and lacked a holistic strategy.

According to Laadhari several reforms are underway to develop and implement a strategy which corresponds ” the real needs in employment businesses to enable diploma holders to easily find a job.”

The cites Tunisia’s overall unemployment rate for 2014 as 15% against a rate of 15.3% in 2013, and 16.7% in 2012.  Youth unemployment stands in excess of 30% nationally and higher in certain regions, particularly the interior governorates of Sidi Bouzid and Kasserine.

The Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment will have a budget of approximately 500 million Dinars over the next five years towards its efforts to reform vocational training in Tunisia.