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  • The EIB has signed a cooperation agreement on consultancy services with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine to support the implementation of the Ukraine VET project.
  • It includes an EU grant of €8.5 million for technical assistance for efficient project management and communication.
  • The project, which already received €58 million of EIB financing in 2021, will build, renovate and upgrade existing VET schools.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank of the European Union, and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine have concluded a cooperation agreement on consultancy services to support the implementation of Ukraine’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) project. The cooperation includes an €8.5 million EU grant from the Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP). The grant will cover valuable technical assistance for efficient project preparation, procurement and implementation, including for communication and visibility purposes.

This grant complements an EIB loan of €58 million signed in 2021 to finance the construction, renovation and upgrade of existing VET schools, and will further boost interest in vocational education among young people. The initial loan was intended to foster resilient, sustainable and integrated economies, emphasising the need to invest in people, and especially young people — one of the key objectives of the EU Eastern Partnership priorities for post-2020. The loan was also a channel to implement the European Union’s EU4Skills: Better Skills for Modern Ukraine programme, co-funded by the governments of Germany, Finland, Poland and Estonia.

Since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine in 2022, investing in vocational education capacity has become even more important, and is critical for Ukraine’s recovery. Many new forms of technical expertise will be required to ensure that reconstruction in the country is green, inclusive and successful. A modernised VET system is key for Ukraine’s human capital, and the cooperation agreement between the Bank and the ministry is another important step towards that goal.

Lisovyi Oksen, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, remarked, “The modern system of professional education is an essential step on the way to the reconstruction of Ukraine. It must be innovative, flexible, inclusive and focused on developing human potential. At the same time, it is impossible to talk about major changes in the system without real and thorough changes in the VET schools. That is why the financing from the European Union and the EIB will be aimed specifically at reconstructing and modernising vocational education institutions, which will lay a foundation for further transformation.”

Teresa Czerwińska, EIB Vice-President responsible for Bank operations in Ukraine, added, “Everything is under fire in Ukraine, including education, but the country remains focused on its future despite the challenges posed by Russia’s war. Rebuilding Ukraine will depend on the knowledge and skills of its people, who have inspired the world with their resilience. Already before the war, the EIB — the bank of the European Union — had lent €58 million to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine to help modernise its vocational education system. Thanks to the EU grant, the EIB will now back the country’s efforts to implement this project in the most efficient way.”

Remi Duflot, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine said: “It is impressive to see how, despite the war, Ukraine continues developing its vocational education and training – VET – system. This EIB loan, supported by an EU grant, will contribute in the most relevant manner to our EU4Skills programme, by making vocational education accessible to a greater number of Ukrainians. It is clear that there is already a great need and, what is reassuring for the future, a great demand for VET skills, in particular in occupations related to the construction and manufacturing industries. Besides its importance for this country's reconstruction and future demography, VET can also be an instrument for veterans to reintegrate civilian life; it can help to build back a stronger economy, and a society even more closely knitted together, in which the scars of war can heal better, and quicker.”

Background information

About EIB’s support for Ukraine

The EIB has worked with Ukraine since 2007. The EIB offered immediate relief to Ukraine following the outbreak of the war, disbursing €1.7 billion of financing in 2022 for emergency repairs to the country’s infrastructure ravaged by Russian bombing. The EU bank also provided a €4 billion credit line to support the integration of refugees from Ukraine in EU countries.

The EIB announced its EU4U Fund in spring 2023 as a part of the larger EU for Ukraine initiative. The fund will serve as a temporary bridge solution until longer-term EU measures become available to rapidly scale up support for Ukraine’s most urgent infrastructure needs and sustain the economy. Initial pledges to the Fund from Member States have reached €383.3 million.

About the EU Neighbourhood Investment Platform

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 grants are used to improve the implementation of the financed projects, thereby enhancing policy coherence between EIB project decisions, country and sectoral economic reforms and overall ENP objectives.

About the EU4Skills programme

EU4Skills: Better Skills for Modern Ukraine is a joint initiative of the European Union and the Member States Estonia, Finland, Germany and Poland to support the reform and resilience of VET in Ukraine. The programme aims to increase the effectiveness of reform, improve the quality and attractiveness of vocational education and its relevance to labour market needs, train management and teachers of VET schools, and modernise selected vocational education institutions.

EU4Skills supports the Ukrainian VET reform on the national and regional levels, covering seven focus regions: Chernivtsi, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Poltava, Rivne, Vinnytsia and Zaporizhzhia.

Following the outbreak of full-scale war, the programme supplied 300 schools with generators, delivered IT equipment and textbooks, developed 20 online courses to support the provision of skilled labour for the recovery process, equipped 2 500 teachers with enhanced digital skills, developed over 50 digital education courses and e-learning materials, and established IT cabinets in 20 VET schools. Thanks to the infrastructure improvements under EU4Skills, five centres for vocational education and training were equipped with agriculture and road reconstruction machinery, and one with sewing machinery.