The Closing Conference of Zafer-İN Operation (Technical Assistance for Improving the Adaptability of Employers and Employees in TR33 Region), in which Zafer Development Agency is the Operation Beneficiary and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security European Union and Financial Support Department is the Contracting Authority was held in Afyonkarahisar Akrones Hotel on the 3rd October 2017. Zafer-İN Operation, which started in January 2016, aimed to increase the adaptability of SME employers and employees in the TR33 Region consisting of Afyonkarahisar, Kütahya, Manisa and Uşak provinces by supporting the continuous learning and making the Regional Human Resources Development Centre -BİGEM- sustainable and functional.
The Closing Conference took place with wide participation of project partners and stakeholders. Opening speeches were performed by the Governor of Kütahya Ahmet Hamdi NAYIR, Governor of Afyonkarahisar Mustafa TUTULMAZ, Economic and Social Development Department of the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey Program Manager Tsvetana STOYCHEVA, President of the Economic and Social Cohesion Department of the Ministry of Development Abdullah BAŞAR, Contract Manager of EU and Financial Aid for the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Selen KABACA and Zafer Development Agency General Secretary Yusuf BALCI.
Governor of Kütahya Ahmet Hamdi NAYIR said "Within this huge project, we have been working to strengthen the institutional capacity of our SMEs and public institutions in the region and to improve their adaptability in business life through lifelong learning. Since the beginning of the project, we have carried out a lot of activities, we have covered a lot of ground. Within Zafer Development Agency, we have established Regional Human Resources Development Centre (BİGEM), which is a first in Turkey in partnership with the Universities, İŞKUR Provincial Directorates, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Organized Industrial Zones and Trade Unions in the region with the signing ceremony held in Afyonkarahisar in April 2016. Through this centre we have ensured the sustainability of the project. "
Afyonkarahisar Governor Mustafa TUTULMAZ declared "I really care about this project, which aims at harmonizing the employees and the employers and increasing the qualifications of the employees. Because we are not a country whose natural resources are at a very high level. Our wealth is our human resource. Improving the qualifications of this resource will increase our human capital. As long as we do this, we can reach a competing industry and a competitive production in the world. I especially expect from the development agencies, our universities and other institutions to continue similar projects. Because in this country, without education, it is not possible to succeed, to increase our production and to compete with the world. "
Tsvetana STOYCHEVA, Program Manager in Economic and Social Development Department, European Union Delegation to Turkey said "The support of SMEs for improving the adaptability of employees and employers will increase their competitiveness at the local, national and global level. This will also contribute to the economic and social development of both the region and Turkey. This project, which is supported by the EU, has made very important contributions in this respect. "
Contract Manager of EU and Financial Aid for the Ministry of Labour and Social Security declared "With the 553 million euros allocated to the Ministry within the IPA I. Period, 938 projects, some of which have been completed and some of which still continue, are successfully managed since 2007, and about 700 thousand citizens are supported. 85% of the allocated funds will be used at the end of the first period of the IPA project. The areas and activities to be supported using EU IPA funds for the IPA II period are determined in the program called "Sectoral Operational Program for Employment, Education and Social Policies" (IESP SOP), prepared in coordination with the EU and the Office of Financial Aid and covers the period from 2014 to 2020. With 511 million euros allocated in this scope; projects and work in line with the needs and expectations of our institutions and citizens in the fields of education, employment and social policy will continue to be supported. "
Head of Department Abdullah BAŞAR, who attended the conference from the Ministry of Development, said, after giving detailed information about the establishment time and the establishment purposes of development agencies, that it is a very important step to bring such a great international fund to the region where Zafer Development Agency is acting and that such projects shall continue.
Yusuf BALCI, General Secretary of Zafer Development Agency who gave detailed information about the project activities, declared "It is very proud for me to announce to you that within the scope of the project, 2,388 SME employees, 667 SME employers and 545 public officials benefited from the training programs. The 21-month implementation period of the project has resulted in significant results for our Region, through the synergy created by the valuable support of the EU Department of Labour and Social Security and the effective communication between our Agency and our project stakeholders. "
The conference pursued with the presentation of Technical Assistance Team Leader Dr. Peter WILSON on Zafer-IN Operation, and then panels on SME Benefits and Future of BIGEM were held.
In the first panel titled "SME Benefits" moderated by Taylan UYGUN, Head of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of Zafer Development Agency, Tolga ESKİOĞLU, General Manager of Aragonit Building Chemicals, Gonca ALTUNAY, General Manager of Sard Machinery, Umut KARAKAYA, General Director of Asya Çadır Textile, and Nurettin KARAMAN, General Manager of Martolia Marble participated as panellists.
In the panel titled "The Future of BİGEM" moderated by Zafer Development Agency Project Development and Implementation Expert Hacer ERİŞ, Yilmaz AKAR, Afyonkarahisar İŞKUR Provincial Director Assistant, Cavit KAHYA, Uşak Leather Mixed OSB Regional Manager, Salih Nafi ALIÇ General Secretary of Kütahya Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Assoc. Dr. Mahmut KARGIN, Manisa Celal Bayar University Director of Continuing Education Centre participated as panellists.
About the Regional Human Resources Development Centre (BİGEM)
The Regional Human Resources Development Centre (BİGEM) is an organization established to provide cooperation between institutions in the development of human resources in TR33 Region. It has been established in cooperation with 44 institutions consisting of the universities, İŞKUR Provincial Directorates, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Organized Industrial Zones and Trade Unions of the Region and Zafer Development Agency. Within BİGEM, a "Regional Labour Force Database", which will collect labour force data produced by central institutions and institutions in the Region in one centre and open to the use of partners, and a "Regional Labour Force Software" to enable regional analyses and evaluations to be made using collected data were developed. In this way, all institutions, organizations and companies in the region will be informed about all internal and external support mechanisms and will be directed to the suitable ones.
BİGEM will provide training and consultancy services to the stakeholders who are aiming at improving business and capacity. It also carries out cooperation development efforts to facilitate networking and access to funding for the stakeholders of the Region. The studies, collected data and analyses made during the implementation period of BİGEM play a role in the development of strategies that will pioneer development in the region. In addition to this, through the internet portal, it will bring on the same platform entrepreneurs, local stakeholders, training and consultancy service providers and SMEs; and “business, strategy and cooperation development "services.
Zafer-IN Operation was completed at the beginning of October 2017. BIGEM will continue its operations within the scope of the Zafer Development Agency based on the sustainability principle by continuing to support local economy and contributing to the improvement of SMEs' competitiveness and of their adaptability to the transforming economic adaptability.