The OIC-VET pilot project titled “Strengthening VET through Local Vocational Courses: the Experience of the Centre of Art and Vocational Training Courses of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İSMEK)” was inaugurated by Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, wife of Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 8 June 2010 at Feshane International Fair Congress and Culture Center, in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey. The project was organized jointly by SESRIC and İSMEK with the participation of representatives of the municipalities from nine OIC Member Countries, namely Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen.
The OIC-VET pilot project started with the opening ceremony of the 13th General Exhibition of İSMEK, during which Mrs. Emine Erdoğan welcomed the representatives from OIC Member Countries and talked about the importance of global efforts to end poverty and the need for solidarity among neighbouring countries in this respect. She underlined the importance of vocational education and training in poverty reduction and alleviation, and stated that İSMEK has shown great progress in making people involved in training activities and increasing their employability, reaching to approximately 1 million trainees in the last fourteen years. Mrs. Erdoğan commended the efforts of İSMEK for organising training courses for the citizens residing in Istanbul, as well as organising this study visit for OIC Member Countries in a view to opening its experience and expertise in the field of vocational training to other brotherly countries.
SESRIC welcomed the participants of this significant project and thanked to İSMEK for their support provided to the participants in facilitating this important event. SESRIC also mentioned that this important programme would generate benefits for the OIC Municipalities to provide better services to the citizens through close partnerships and networking among similar institutions operating in the member countries. SESRIC also stated that this project is a first collaborative project among OIC Municipalities in the field of vocational training with a view to enhancing current capacity of VET in our cities and exchanging knowledge and expertise concerning local practices of vocational courses. In this respect this project is a timely decision as we believe that sharing the experiences of ISMEK will be instrumental to the success of many countries to take similar initiatives in training talented people in the areas of interest.
During the opening session, Mr. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, Governor of Istanbul, pointed out to the importance of İSMEK courses and expressed that they are an example of a modern and social municipality services. On the other hand, Dr. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul, pointed out to the remarkable achievements undertaken by İSMEK and congratulated the graduates prior to the opening of the exhibition.