October 27, 2016 – Local PEP researchers in Mongolia held a national policy conference to present their findings and discuss recommendations relating to the impact of vocational training programs (VTP) on youth unemployment in the country. Organized in collaboration with the Metropolitan Employment Department (MED) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (MLSP), more than 80 key stakeholders were present to find out more about the PEP project and the team’s findings. These stakeholders included government officials, representatives of national and international organizations, industry experts, and journalists.
As the MED is the main agency to implement VTP, and the MLSP is responsible for VTP budgeting and monitoring, not only did the MED and MLSP assist in organizing the event, they were also key collaborators from the very beginning of the study.
Selected under the PAGE initiative in 2013, this study investigates the impact of short-term vocational training programs for youth on earnings, job quality and the likelihood and duration of employment in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The team’s results indicate that in the short term, VTP increase the employment rate by 13%, increase monthly earnings by 25%, and increase skill matching (as an indicator of job quality) by 4%.
Based on these findings, the team identifies VTP as an efficient tool to promote employment and income amongst youth workers. The team also makes several recommendations in order to improve the current program. Recognizing the popularity of certain vocations and removing the quota by vocation can increase youth participation in the program. Furthermore, providing trainees with general labor market information improved attendance and could be an inexpensive way to reduce the drop-out rate and increase the effectiveness of VTP. Find out more about the research methods, findings, and policy recommendations in PEP Policy Brief 147.
As well as to disseminate their findings, the research team organized the policy conference to raise awareness of the importance of evaluating the impact of programs and policies, to encourage cooperation between academics and policymakers, and to establish a network of labor researchers, policymakers and government officials.
Among those in attendance were the Deputy Minister or the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Director General of the MLSP Employment Policy Department, an official from the Ministry of Finance, the Deputy Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, a senior specialist at the Labor and Social Insurance Office, the Deputy Director of the Mongolia Employers’ Federation, heads of vocational training institutions, a World Bank consultant, an International Labour Organization (ILO) specialist, a youth employment specialist from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the head of the City Education Department, Bank of Mongolia officials, numerous academics, and four journalists from the national media.
The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection presented the government’s labor promotion policies and the changes to the newly restructured ministry. She explained that the government is currently considering revising the VTP design, with support from the World Bank and as such, the research findings are both well-timed and very useful. A national consultant for the VTP reform also presented and MED officials stated that the research results will be considered during the VTP redesign. Additionally, a department head at the MLSP said that the team’s findings will inform policymaking.
As well as highlighting the usefulness of the findings, a number of participants, including the MLSP Deputy Minister and the Deputy Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, emphasized the more general importance of policy impact evaluation for good governance. The Director of the Financial Regulation Committee (FRC) also highlighted the need to develop a pool of local experts in policy evaluation.
During the event, the SDC youth employment specialist congratulated the team on their work and stated that the SDC would be interested in collaborating with the team on further research. The Deputy Mayor of Ulaanbaatar also expressed interest in future collaborations. The FRC representatives stated that the Committee is currently considering funding further research on the policymaking process, particularly the policy impact of financial market expectations.
The conference was reported widely, including news items published and broadcast leading up to the event. Three Mongolian news websites published a total of four news items, a national newspaper published an article on the research findings and conference aims, and three television channels broadcast news items reporting from the conference, two of which included interviews with the project team leader.