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Digital Fabrication for Vocational Education in Eastern Ukraine

2020-12-21

Conflict-affected regions in Eastern Ukraine are facing high unemployment rates, especially among young people. There are very few employment opportunities and, at the same time, young people are less prepared for today’s work and business environment. Terre des hommes aims to increase the participation of youth in the Ukrainian economy by strengthening vocational education and training, developing youths’ digital and entrepreneurial skills, and improving their employability.

As a result of the project:

  • 450 students develop skills in using digital technology
  • 450 students gain knowledge in entrepreneurship
  • Nine lyceums have access to basic digital fabrication equipment

The unemployment and insecurity negatively impact the well-being of young people in Eastern Ukraine. Due to the conflict, the economy of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts shrank by 60-70%. On the other hand, most industries require workforce that can operate in the IT and digital environment, but the vocational education and training (VET) uses outdated equipment and is not adapted to the current economy needs. In this context, the improvement and modernisation of VET is crucial both for giving opportunities to youth and for the growth of the economy.

Through our project, we equip four youth centres with digital fabrication workshops and establish one FabLab in Mariupol as a platform for cooperation between the VET and IT business. To improve the quality of VET, we train teachers to teach new technology and to help students develop their skills. The lack of job opportunities is addressed by providing entrepreneurship skills training to young people and promoting self-employment.

An enabling environment for learning and exploring

A Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) is a place where anyone can turn their idea into a real object with the help of digital fabrication technology and modern equipment such as 3D printer, 3D scanner, plotter, cutter, embroidery machine, modern computers with 3D modelling programmes. We create four new physical spaces named Digital Fabrication Workshops in smaller towns and establish a FabLab in the industrial city Mariupol.

To amplify the impact of the project, we trained teachers from nine vocational schools to use the innovative equipment and to further deliver basic digital fabrication and manufacturing classes to students.

Liudmyla Borysova, Master of Industrial Training, profession "Tailor", at Novoaydar Professional Agricultural Lyceum, mentioned: "The major challenge of our profession is the very expensive sewing accessories, patterns and other decorative elements. Thanks to the knowledge of creating 3D models, the students and I will be able to produce the materials we need in Digital Workshop. We will decorate products with exclusive elements."

The knowledge of digital modelling allows students to implement their ideas and thus show their creativity, which is an integral part of such professions as fashion designer and tailor, chef, web designer and graphic designer, hairdresser, manicurist, as well as carpenter, electrician, welder, and even tractor driver.

Empowering youth to start their own business

Complimentarily to digital fabrication skills, we build the entrepreneurial attitude and capacity of young people. We provide entrepreneurship training to teachers and encourage them to include elements of entrepreneurship education in their lessons with students.

The project serves as a business idea incubator. Students can design their business idea and create a product prototype in the FabLab. This approach gives them the opportunity to test the idea, learn from mistakes, collect and consider the opinions and feedback from potential consumers, create several copies and try to sell them. The most successful ideas will receive financial support from the project for the development of a small business.

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Project duration: September 07, 2020- September 06, 2021

Donors: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Partners: DAI Global, LLC