On March 15, we in partnership with the USAID Industry-led Skills Development Program officially launched the Business Leaders’ Council in Georgia, a joint initiative aiming to engage the private sector in skills development.
The Business Leaders’ Council – seen as a private sector engagement tool – is expected to become the voice of businesses in designing innovative skills development solutions, and to provide a mechanism for building trust, sharing information, and eliciting advice from experts. It will provide an opportunity for the private sector to actively participate in the identification of challenges and solutions to address skills constraints, help the USAID Industry-led Skills Development Program to respond to the most urgent needs of employers, and to provide a platform for peer-to-peer information-sharing.
Peter Wiebler, USAID/Georgia Mission Director, opened the event, which gathered business and industry leaders across priority sectors of the economy.
“This event brings together Georgian private sector leaders, the country’s largest companies and the largest associations, in order to discuss business needs and help people master the necessary skills and professions,” said Mr. Wiebler, adding “The aim of the Council on the one hand is for employers to have qualified staff and on the other hand to ensure people have means of employment. There are many challenges in Georgia today, but the main thing to focus on is the quality of education, improving foreign language and technical skills, as well as critical thinking. This is what this meeting is about, to discuss and to see the main problems and to start solving them together, that’s the purpose of USAID.”
The presentation was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Aleksi Aleksishvili, CEO and Chairman at PMCG, focusing on how the private sector can contribute to effective industry-relevant skills development programs that provide job-seekers with the relevant skills needed to obtain high-value employment.
“The purpose of this platform is to create a bridge between businesses and academic professional education. It should be a space where businesses state their challenges, needs, and demands, as well as their solutions. What we are seeing now is that there is no direct coincidence between supply and demand. How we can respond to that, is what we are going to talk about in this space,” noted Aleksishvili.
“USAID is implementing this program in partnership with the private sector, because professional education and human capital development is what the private sector needs in the first place, moreover the private sector representatives know the needs and challenges of their industries, therefore USAID makes relevant decisions relying on this information,” said Otar Berishvili, Executive Director of Adjara Group, adding “Representatives of different businesses from different industries should raise these needs and implement new programs in this regard with public organizations and others.”
Ultimately, the USAID Industry-led Skills Development Program anticipates benefitting up to 4,800 individuals who will complete workforce programs, with at least 3,840 gaining new or better employment.