Press Release

Local employment partnerships will help to improve labour markets in Ukraine

03 September 2021

During 2020-2021, the International Labour Organization in Ukraine (ILO) successfully piloted a local employment partnership in Kherson. This activity became possible with the participation of local employers, local State Employment Service, educational institutions and NGOs who formed the mechanism that can effectively address the labor market problems on local level. Potentially, such partnerships may soon start operating all over Ukraine.

After two years of work, a methodology for employment partnerships at the local level, developed by the International Labor Organization, has proven its efficiency in solving the problems of the labor market in Ukraine on the example of Kherson city. Local employment partnership (LEP) is the voluntary union, designed to improve the labour market situation in the local community, by merging efforts of the local employment service, local employers, NGOs and educational institutions.

The partnership was implemented for the first time in Kherson, and now has demonstrated its first tangible results. Its main goal of the partnership was to analyze the situation on the local (city) labor market and identify potential areas of business activity that could bring profit to the local community and employ its inactive or unemployed residents. In Kherson, the LEP was primarily focused on improvement of hotel and restaurant industry. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kherson’s LEP managed to employ 40 citizens who were unemployed or inactive; in addition, 18 winners of a business plan competition received grants from the ILO to start their own businesses. Also, local employment partnership invited best restaurateurs from neighbor areas to retrain students-cooks from Kherson vocational school, so they could better meet needs of the employers. Thanks to the Kherson LEP, occupational standards for cook have been developed and adopted by the Ministry of education at the national level for the entire country.

During the COVID-19 pandemic many people in Kherson, just as across Ukraine, have lost their jobs, with a women, leading the most vulnerable cohort. With the improvement of epidemiological situation, for many of them it remained still difficult to get employed.

Khrystyna Studynska received ILO grant for opening of her business ‘outdoor picnic party rental’ while expecting a baby. She says, even though it’s quite hard to run business and take care of her 6-month-old infant, she always finds a time to push ahead her own startup. “I enjoy my business because it’s so aesthetically nice… you know, all these beautiful kits I provide for picnic rentals they are visually appealing. That’s why I get so many orders for the photoshoot, or romantic dinners outside”. Khrystyna says, initially it was quite complicated to find clients, because her business is unique as such, but very soon people began recommending her to a friends and Instagram followers, so now she even plans to expand her business.

Another ILO’s grant recipient from Kherson, Olena Borysenko, applied for the grant program together with her retired mother. However, only she succeeded to win $3000 for equipment for a coffee shop. “I was so disappointed, as initially I didn’t win a grant, as there was a big competition, - says Olena, - However, I decided to open my business anyway. You, know I have the best cakes in the city and people just love them… My clients posted very positive feedbacks on my sweets on Instagram, and mentor of ILO grant program somehow saw it. It was like a miracle, as few months later I received an ILO grant for procurement of equipment that made my coffee-pastry business really much more productive”.

Participants of the grant program got a mentorship support throughout the course and were trained for several weeks on how to develop their own business plan before obtained a grant. The program targeted, first of all, the most vulnerable groups of population.

Olesia Mikheeva, 51, came to a state employment center after years she spent in a professional journalism at TOP national TV-channel. She was immediately and quite openly informed that she had a very little chances to find a job: ‘I was so angry to hear that, but very unexpectedly it gave me a strong motivation to start my business no matter what. At that day I came home and made a fundamental web research… I used to be a journalist, you know [laughing]… so I know how to find what I need. That’s how I stumbled upon ILO grant program. The grant gave me a second chance in my life to do what I really love’. Olesia’s choice for a business was a jam production. ‘It’s a very artistic process, not a regular cooking, - she says – with ILO’s equipment I developed my unique recipes, some of jams should be even baked in oven’.

In addition to Kherson, the local employment partnerships were also launched in Rivne oblast, as a part of ILO’s project ‘Inclusive labor markets for job creation in Ukraine’, funded by Danish government.

It is envisaged that activities of the local employment partnerships must be flexible and variable enough to make the most of all opportunities and resources on the ground and meet needs of the local communities. Basically, the LEP’s strength lies in a collaboration between educational institutions that train labor potential, the employment service that helps them to get employed, and employers who actually create a demand for a labour force in a certain region. So, the partnership model allows all stakeholders to come together at the local level without anticipating instructions from above. LEPs are designed to became sustainable and after some time of initial support, to operate fully independently. It is noteworthy that this model of cooperation in the field of employment is not a know-how, but is borrowed from other European countries. LEPs have already been successfully implemented by the International Labor Organization in a number of European countries, including Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova and Montenegro.

The International Labor Organization in Ukraine is now developing a step-by-step guide on how to create and facilitate local employment partnerships and plans to provide it very soon to Ukraine for further implementation.

Local employment partnerships will help to improve labour markets in Ukraine

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Labour Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative