• An EIB loan (€58 million) will finance the construction, renovation and upgrade of existing vocational education and training (VET) schools in up to nine oblasts and their transformation into centres of excellence.
  • The EIB operation complements the EU4Skills: the Better Skills for Modern Ukraine programme launched in 2019 co-funded by the European Union, Germany, Finland, Poland and Estonia.
  • The investment will benefit from an €8.5 million grant for technical assistance from its Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP).

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank of the European Union, will lend €58 million to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine to finance the ongoing modernisation of the country`s VET system. The investment from the EU bank will finance the establishment of some nine VET centres of excellence in up to nine oblasts of Ukraine — Chernihiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, City of Kyiv, Odesa, Ternopil, Volyn and Zakarpattia — and improve educational facilities for over 10 000 teachers and students in the country.

The European Union complemented the loan with an €8.5 million grant from its Neighbourhood Investment Platform. This grant will provide valuable technical assistance for efficient project preparation and implementation and procurement.

This EIB operation is part of Team Europe’s activities in Ukraine supporting reform and modernisation of the country’s educational system and green and sustainable social and economic growth. The loan supplements implementation of the EU4Skills: Better Skills for Modern Ukraine programme of the European Union, co-funded with the governments of Germany, Finland, Poland and Estonia.

This project supports one of the key objectives of the Eastern Partnership (EaP)’s revised priorities for post-2020, building resilient, sustainable and integrated economies where the need to invest in people, particularly young people is emphasised. It is one of the four major financing agreements in the region combining EIB loans and EU grants worth a total of €171 million that were finalised in the margins of the European Union–Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels.

EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, who is responsible for operations in Ukraine, said: “Support for Eastern Partnership countries remains a key priority for the EU bank. We are working towards strengthening their economic competitiveness, increasing their citizens' quality of life, and implementing policy reforms in line with EU priorities. Ukraine has been the main recipient country of EIB support in the Eastern Neighbourhood, accounting for more than 60% of EIB lending activity in this region. The agreement signed today will help support the reform of vocational education and training in Ukraine. We are confident that the EIB loan and the EU4Skills programme will help make vocational education more attractive and prestigious for Ukrainian youth to chart their successful career paths. As the EU climate bank, we believe that this loan will also contribute to the green transition of the education sector in Ukraine by enhancing the energy efficiency of VET buildings. Thus, it will be beneficial for young people, teachers and the environment.”

Katarína Mathernová, Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and Head of the Support Group for Ukraine, said: “The European Union actively supports reforms in the education sector in Ukraine. The creation of multi-sector centres of excellence in vocational education will make VET more attractive for young people and ensure skill acquisition in line with labour market needs. This is a long-term investment in education that will not only contribute to the transition of VET schools towards becoming an attractive educational pathway for young people, but will also have a positive impact on the economic development of Ukraine, enhancing competition and boosting innovation in the country.”

Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, said: “Modernisation and development of vocational education is a necessary investment in the economic development of Ukraine. Thanks to cooperation with the European Investment Bank and with the support of the European Union, multi-level centres of excellence will be established to support the reform of Ukraine's vocational education and training system. This project will help us to improve the conditions for teaching and learning, provide comfortable living conditions in dormitories for students from rural areas or other regions, improve the quality of education, increase youth employment and reduce costs.”

Team Europe invests in a modern education system for Ukraine

The EIB loan supported by the EU grant will finance the construction of new regional VET centres of excellence and the substantial renovation and upgrade of existing VET schools, including improvements to student dormitories. Renovation will also improve the energy efficiency of buildings, reducing energy waste. 

Modernised VET infrastructure will enable young Ukrainians to acquire skills sought after on the local job market and find jobs easier. The operation will help reduce youth unemployment in the country, accelerate economic growth, increase the competitiveness of local companies through a skilled workforce and boost innovation.

Background information:

About the EIB in Ukraine:

The EIB has worked with Ukraine since 2007. Ukraine has been the main recipient country of EIB support in the Eastern Neighbourhood, accounting for more than 60% of EIB lending activity in this region. The Bank focuses on social and economic infrastructure, transport and connectivity, local private sector development, energy efficiency, climate action and innovation. Today, the EIB is one of the largest investors in Ukraine with signed projects of more than €7 billion.

About the EU Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP):

NIP supports EU partner countries under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in their efforts towards better governance and economic and social development by matching loans from European public finance institutions (including the EIB) with Community grants. NIP supports infrastructure projects mainly in the energy, transport and environment sectors. NIP also supports private sector development. Technical assistance (TA) grants are used to improve the implementation of financed projects, thereby enhancing policy coherence between EIB project decisions, country and sectoral economic reforms and overall ENP objectives.

About EU4Skills:

EU4Skills is a programme to support the reform of vocational education and training in Ukraine. The programme is supported by the European Union and its Member States, namely Germany, Finland, Poland and Estonia. Total funding for the programme is €63 million. EU4Skills is aimed at modernising vocational education and training institutions and training school managers and teachers in seven pilot oblasts: Chernivtsi, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Poltava, Rivne, Vinnytsia and Zaporizhia. The programme’s duration period is 2019-2023. EU4Skills is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in close cooperation with its Finnish, Polish and Estonian partners as well as Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).