The “ENGINE: Building the Capacity of Industry Associations Serving Engineering Companies in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan” project was initiated with the goal of improving the qualifications and training of engineers in the construction industry in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Below are key aspects and achievements of this project.

The initial task of the ENGINE project was to develop and implement a qualification assessment system through certification for engineers in the construction industry in Uzbekistan and transfer this experience to Kazakhstan. This initiative aimed to address the industry’s demand for highly qualified engineers in both countries. While universities provided a strong theoretical foundation, it was based on outdated Soviet standards that didn’t meet modern engineering requirements. Additionally, there was a lack of practical education, a distinct feature of the certification system, as modern professional engineers must possess confirmed theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

The existing education and training system for engineers posed risks to both government projects and the private sector, as young graduates didn’t meet the industry’s high standards. Education and retraining in this field had low state support and faced financial limitations.

One of the key achievements of the project was the increase in the competence and role of industry and professional associations. Project partners, Kazakhstan Su Arnasy (KSA) and UZACE, became active participants, developing skills in project, personnel, communication, and financial management. The project facilitated collaboration between associations and government bodies. Thanks to ENGINE, associations gained the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively prepare and present their relevant issues for the industry.

The ENGINE project delivered practical benefits highly praised by private sector participants. The developed educational programs and courses were created with active involvement from experienced representatives of the engineering industry, giving them high authority and emphasizing the relevance of modern engineering skills. This, in turn, boosted the confidence in engineers’ professionalism and improved the quality of services they provided. Industrial enterprises recognized the immense advantage of having qualified professionals with European certification standards. These specialists allowed companies to confidently undertake large international projects with more stringent engineering skill requirements.

The cluster CLEANTECH LATVIA, as an organization, ideally suited for implementing this project. It united professional Latvian engineering experts who possessed both theoretical and practical knowledge and were fluent in the Russian language, making interactions with project participants and stakeholders more accessible. The experience of Latvia’s transition from the Soviet management model to the European one provided unique insights into the challenges that could arise on this path. The cluster’s years of work in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan allowed it to leverage existing strong connections with key stakeholders.

In conclusion, having a mandatory certification system in the country provides a significant boost to the further development of the professional qualification and quality of the construction industry. The “ENGINE” project acted as a catalyst for forming a critical mass of highly qualified professionals and establishing standards that now serve as a benchmark for all other participants in the engineering industry.

The publication was prepared with the financial support of the European Union, within the framework of the project “Building the capacity of industry associations of engineering companies in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan” (Agreement No. ACA/2019/4120712).

The content of this publication is solely the responsibility of CLEANTECH LATVIA and cannot be considered as reflecting the position of the European Union.