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Boosting youth employment in Georgia

A hands-on approach to boost youth employment in Georgia


‘Youth for public interest’ started in 2015, when Meri Namgaladze, its future chairwoman, was herself a university student. Inspired by her coursework in civil activism, she, together with some fellow students, was involved in a social project, implemented with success. This experience motivated Meri to formalise the group and establish an NGO. “Our initial projects were focused on addressing the educational gap that we had identified, including training in project writing, volunteering, participation in budgeting processes and organising visits to public offices,” Meri says. Since 2015, ‘Youth for public interest’ has involved in its activities some 300 young people, having built a business network which includes youth, local private companies and public entities – such as the Adjara Employment Agency, the Youth Agency, the Regional Employment Centre and the Batumi City Hall.

Meri Namgaladze

In 2023, the NGO received EU financial support through the Education Development and Employment Centre (EDEC), working in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The grant allowed them to introduce a specific training module which was tailored to the needs of the target group of 30 young people who wished to find a job or set up a business.

Our target age was between 16 and 29. We went around several educational institutions – including Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, College Black Sea, Batumi State Maritime Academy, and the Batumi Navigation Teaching University – to maximise students’ engagement. We had a strong promotion in social media and several spots on Batumi radio,” says Meri. “And our efforts paid off: we received 160 applications from young people, it was quite a challenge to select just 30.”

Professional self-determination, social media marketing and creating a business plan were the three topics of the courses, carefully selected on the basis of market demand.

Tamara Danelia

There is a significant shortfall in motivation and analytical skills among youth,” says the chairwoman of the NGO. “In the very beginning, we tried to identify the career goals and aspirations of our participants: whether it was to start their own business or to seek employment within a company. Based on their goals, we tailored our approach.

Two streams – each of 15 young people – were structured around eight modules, delivered one per day. A practical component of the training involved developing marketing strategies for 10 local companies. Participants, organised into small groups, crafted detailed sales and marketing strategies, including comprehensive budgets.

Tamara Danelia is the founder of the Meza Group, a local Georgian eyewear brand. In framework of the training, a group of young people worked on a marketing strategy for her company. “The fresh, innovative ideas brought by the young people were genuinely eye-opening! The new marketing strategy allowed us to refine our approach to visibility and increase our sales. The involvement of young people was not only an asset for us; it was an example of how youth empowerment can lead to tangible improvements in our business practices,” Tamara insists.

The final activity of the NGO was to organise a Youth Forum in Batumi – a space for around 100 young people to engage directly with the public sector, including representatives from the Batumi City Hall and employment agencies and private companies. The forum facilitated discussions on existing EU projects for youth, opened networking opportunities with potential employers, and presented the marketing strategies developed by the participants in the course of the trainings.

Just two months after its completion, the initiative is already bearing fruit. One participant has started a job in a private company; two have started their own businesses. Ana Khalvashi, 18, is a student who has been hired by marketing company Digital Port, working now as a social media manager. “The training helped me to set goals for myself and to find a job. The knowledge I gained perfectly matched my current job profile, leading to a successful employment,” says the young woman.

Nestan Zoidze

Nestan Zoidze, 26, used to work at a supermarket chain. Her family runs a guesthouse and a small restaurant in Chanchkhalo village, two hours’ drive from Batumi. “Before the training, I considered the development of our family business as an unattainable goal”, she confessed. “Participation in the NGO’s activities gave me a good understanding of what is needed in marketing for a guesthouse and restaurant. This experience made me quit my well-paid job in order to dedicate myself full-time to our family business. This decision has profoundly changed my life.”

A long-lasting impact of the ‘Youth for public interest’ initiative lies also in the creation of the Batumi Business Network which bridges young people with around 200 representatives of local businesses. It is sustained via a Facebook group and physical meetings, the first of which was co-funded by the companies.  The network gives room to companies to share information about job vacancies specifically interested in hiring students.

We recognise the significance of forging connections between the private sector and civil society, particularly with the youth, and see it as vital. Therefore, we plan to pursue new funding to strengthen and expand this network,” concludes the head of the NGO, Meri Namgaladze.

Author: Volha Prokharava