Vocational skills development – the gateway to the world of work

Quality vocational skills development that enables trainees to gain a foothold in the labour market and to find and keep jobs with decent working conditions can contribute to poverty reduction. The goal is economic development that benefits all. The SDC works with the public authorities and the private sector to develop training programmes tailored to the needs of the market.

Focus of the SDC's activities

The SDC supports a vocational skills development approach that can provide trainees with the skills they need to take part in the labour market and which gives them access to reasonably paid work. The idea is to enable them to acquire the professional skills to take part in the formal or informal labour market either as employees or self-employed workers.

The SDC wants to ensure that young trainees, once trained, can go on to find employment and contribute to productivity growth. The aim is to increase training opportunities and to ensure that all sections of the population – the poor and not so poor, women and men, and urban and rural residents – can benefit from them.

In order to ensure that training programmes are optimally tailored to the needs of trainees and the economy, the SDC makes every effort to involve both the public authorities and the private sector in the planning and implementation stages. The most promising training programmes comprise theoretical and practical instruction – like Switzerland’s dual vocational education and training system.

The SDC is working to improve vocational skills development opportunities, but also encourages the recognition of informal work experience and learning, including self-taught skills, which many professionals can bring to the table.

Depending on the circumstances and contexts, the SDC recommends including introductory modules for certain trades in compulsory school curricula. Career counselling services have proved useful in secondary schools. Ideally, vocational skills development should provide a bridge between basic education and the world of work. With this in mind, the SDC complements vocational skills development programmes with activities to strengthen the private sector and create jobs.

Background

In 2017, some 71 million young people of working age are unemployed. Nearly twice this number are living in poverty, often because they lack education and training and cannot find a decent job. Only 11% of young people in secondary education around the world are enrolled in vocational programmes.

There is a clear need to increase training opportunities to enable young people to prove their potential on the labour market. Vocational skills development, like basic education, is a fundamental condition for economic and social development. It is critically important for vocational skills development to build on high-quality basic education and, if necessary, to close existing knowledge gaps.

Quality vocational skills development only makes sense, however, if those who graduate from vocational skills development programmes find employment opportunities. According to the World Bank, 40 million new jobs are expected to be created annually to absorb the growing number of young people entering the labour market, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Providing a skilled workforce can boost business productivity and competitiveness, which has a positive effect on economic growth and job creation. Offering prospects to the vulnerable and meeting the aspirations of young people is essential to avoid wasting human and economic potential.

Testimonials from beneficiaries

People who have benefited from vocational training talk about their experiences.

Gender and skills development

The SDC integrates respect for gender equality in its projects and ensures that women have access to the job market.

Current Projects

Object 13 – 24 of 103

Sustainable Artisanal Mining

A miner drilling rock in search of gold.

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019

With the boom in the informal mining sector at the start of the 2000s, the Mongolian government, with support from the SDC, launched a project for sustainable artisanal mining in 2005. The project’s aim is to formalise and legalise these activities while developing the capacities of the miners.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mongolia
Governance
Human rights
Mineral/mining policy
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2019


CHF 6'265'000



Project completed

Developing Skills for Better Employment

A student screwing a solar panel together.

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2018

Unequal access to employment and the mismatch between education and labour market requirements are among the reasons for the high youth-unemployment in Albania. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) system therefore is undergoing a reorientation in order to meet labour market needs. Through the Skills Development for Employment Programme Switzerland is supporting these reforms.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Human rights
Vocational training
Employment creation
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2018


CHF 3'000'000



Project completed

Expanding the vocational education and training system and teaching skills relevant to the labour market

01.11.2014 - 30.06.2019

The SDC is working to ensure that jobseekers and insufficiently skilled workers are taught skills relevant to the labour market within the formal and non-formal vocational education and training system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The training is geared to the needs of the various economic sectors, so that workers can be deployed in a targeted manner.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Vocational training
Education
Vocational training
Education policy
Advanced professional training

01.11.2014 - 30.06.2019


CHF 7'192'400



Project completed

Private and public actors working together: pilot education project in Serbia

In a large room, five women sit one behind the other at sewing machines and sew.

01.10.2014 - 30.09.2018

 

The economic crisis weakened Serbia's competitiveness. Youth unemployment is relatively high and a large number of  young Serbians are looking for work but employers cannot find qualified workers. An SDC project is taking an integrative approach to address both problems.

 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Employment & economic development
SME development
Employment creation

01.10.2014 - 30.09.2018


CHF 5'530'000



Project completed

Public Private Partnership to Improved Sanitary Education in Ukraine

Two plumbers are cutting a pipe with a machine in a workshop.

01.07.2014 - 31.07.2018

This public-private partnership, developed in collaboration with the company Geberit, aims to improve vocational training in the field of sanitary technology in Ukraine, which will provide more employment opportunities for young plumbers. A new model will be developed to achieve this, based more on practical training and market needs, and will be tested in pilot schools before being rolled out across the country with support from the Ministry of Education.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Ukraine
Water
Vocational training
Other
Drinking water and basic sanitation (WASH) (til 2016)
Vocational training
Sector not specified

01.07.2014 - 31.07.2018


CHF 400'000



AfDB/AfDF: African Development Bank / African Development Fund – Core Contribution

01.05.2014 - 31.12.2023

The mandate of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Development Fund (AfDF) is to promote sustainable economic and social development in Africa by providing support for good governance and private sector development, infrastructure, higher education and vocational training. Switzerland has been supporting the AfDF since its foundation in 1972 and has been a member since 1982.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Africa
Other
Sector not specified

01.05.2014 - 31.12.2023


CHF 207'759'519



Programme for Supporting Decentralised Management of Literacy in Benin (PAGEDA)

An adult literacy centre in a Fulani camp in the village of Goure Bene, municipality of Nikki, Borgou, 2014

01.01.2014 - 30.09.2020

The programme for supporting the decentralised management of literacy services in Benin (PAGEDA) aims to provide high-quality literacy programmes that will enable 30,000 people (50-50 gender split, with most aged 15-30), who are excluded from or have no access to the formal education system, to acquire life skills and fully exercise their rights. The programme also aims to address gender, age and regional disparities in relation to access to education.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Benin
Education
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Basic life skills
Vocational training
Employment creation

01.01.2014 - 30.09.2020


CHF 6'320'000



Project completed

Quality apprenticeships for disadvantaged populations

01.12.2013 - 30.04.2018

The SDC is committed to developing quality vocational training that is adapted to the market in Myanmar. With this aim in mind, Swiss experts from the hotel industry have become involved. Apprenticeships for disadvantaged groups are funded in the capital and in the south-east of the country.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Myanmar
Vocational training
Vocational training

01.12.2013 - 30.04.2018


CHF 18'900'000



Project completed

N 70 - formation professionnelle phase 2

Three young Nigerien men walking through a plantation.

30.09.2013 - 30.06.2017

The SDC is committed to improving the education and vocational training system in Niger. Over 1.5 million young people living in rural areas currently have no access to education or vocational training. Their future ability to enter the labour market depends on good-quality basic education and vocational training tailored to their needs.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Niger

Dosso and Maradi

Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Education
Vocational training
Employment creation
Basic life skills

30.09.2013 - 30.06.2017


CHF 7'700'000



Project completed

Modernising vocational education and training related to agriculture in Georgia

The image shows the VET college student Medea getting hands-on instructions in the Senaki College greenhouse on growing vegetables.

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2018

Georgia’s vocational education and training (VET) system does not correspond to the needs of the transition to a market economy which the government has sought to bring about since the country gained its independence. The SDC is helping the Georgian government to develop a more modern VET system that integrates theory and practice and allows a long-term increase in farm productivity and rural incomes.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Georgia
Agriculture & food security
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Agricultural development
Vocational training
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
SME development

01.01.2013 - 31.12.2018


CHF 6'547'000



Project completed

Education and vocational training for Roma children

Roma young girls participating in games at summer camps organised by Swiss-supported project.

01.11.2012 - 31.10.2016

Albania's social safety net has to be strengthened to address the conditions faced by marginalised groups, in particular the Roma. The project integrates Roma children into the education system, provides tools and skills to local social care services, and documents best cases of social inclusion for futher replication. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Governance
Other
Human rights
Education
Decentralisation
Sector not specified
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Primary education

01.11.2012 - 31.10.2016


CHF 2'250'000



Project completed

Vocational education and training in Tunisia – Objective: employment

Four young employees at a "practice firm" standing with their work certificates

15.07.2012 - 31.12.2015

Youth unemployment – a major factor in the revolutions that shook the countries of North Africa in 2011 – is a consequence of poor employability in the labour market. An SDC project aims to enhance vocational education and training in Tunisia. In particular, young university graduates are being given the opportunity to acquire practical skills by undertaking internships in "practice firms". Because they have proven so successful, Switzerland’s activities have been extended until 2020.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Tunisia
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
Vocational training
SME development

15.07.2012 - 31.12.2015


CHF 3'150'000


Object 13 – 24 of 103