Representatives from social partner organisations yesterday met at the Productivity Centre (KEPA) to discuss attracting Turkish Cypriots to training programmes offered under the European Year of Skills initiative.The government had earlier announced unilateral measures to improve the job prospects of Turkish Cypriots, including access to training programmes.

KEPA, which implements the national action plan for the Skills Year, clarified that initial programmes would be held in Turkish at the House of Cooperation near Ledra Palace.Reaching a target of 1,000 participants in EU co-funded training was a key focus. Ideas included an event at the House of Cooperation specifically for Turkish Cypriot trade union staff.

Initially, leaflets outlining the free programmes, in Turkish, will be distributed through collaborating trade unions and the Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB) to the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.Mirroring programmes offered in government-controlled areas, the fast-track training will cover topics like environmental sustainability, digital skills, customer service excellence, and occupational health and safety.

Eligibility extends to all Turkish Cypriot identity card holders, employed or unemployed.

KEPA will provide further communication in the coming days to ensure stakeholders are informed. Programmes are expected to begin in late May/early June and run until year-end.

The training access is one of 14 measures announced by the government in January to benefit Turkish Cypriots.

These include participation in human resources development programmes and EU acquis seminars.

The Labour Advisory Body previously discussed these measures, with Labour Minister Yiannis Panagiotou confirming that KEPA, in collaboration with HRDA, had scheduled Turkish-language training programmes from May to December 2024.

The focus will be on green and digital skills development, aligned with the ongoing economic transitions, and EU-related topics.

A participation target of 1,000 Turkish Cypriots has been set.

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