GeoWel is a research partner for People in Need (PiN)’s pilot project, which is funded by the European Neighborhood Program supporting Agricultural and Rural Development (ENPARD). The project provides assistance to the three largest agricultural VET providers in Imereti (Iberia college, Akaki Tsereteli State University, and Didi Jikhaishi College), as well as to the Veterinary Association and the Builders’ Association. At the beginning of the project, GeoWel delivered two comprehensive research reports, both of which were presented and publicly disseminated.
The first research report focused on private sector engagement strategies of VET institutions. From the supply perspective, GeoWel looked at the current practices of the partner VET centers as well as the best examples in Georgia and abroad of how to engage with the private sector. We also had discussions with relevant government and non-governmental entities. From the demand perspective, GeoWel conducted in-depth interviews with 40 agricultural businesses and cooperatives in Imereti.
The second research report focused on the labor market in the agricultural sector of Imereti. A large component of the research was in-depth interviews with 40 agricultural businesses in Imereti and 17 cooperatives, discussions of the skills most demand, and assessment the existing supply of vocational professionals on the market. GeoWel developed a skills-mapping tool based on the government’s occupational standards that allowed for a detailed analysis. In addition, GeoWel conducted a survey of 154 small farmers, a survey of 200 school children, and 10 focus groups with approximately 100 school children participants. This allowed us to examine not only the existing labor market situation, but also perceptions of the VET sector and the potential for its popularization.
In parallel with the research reports, GeoWel also developed a VET toolkit. This includes a database of 335 agricultural businesses in Imereti (compiled from various sources) and tools for collecting data. Relevant consultation and coaching is provided to the VET centers to ensure adequate data collection and utilization. In addition, GeoWel developed four specific VET area studies programs (veterinary studies, tractor operation, beekeeping, and agro-logistics) in Imereti to ensure that potential students and VET centers are better educated in those areas.