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 49 – 60 of 100

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and Gender Equitable Attitudes among Young Men and Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2020

Attitudes and behaviors of the current generation of young people in BiH are still shaped by patriarchal values, which influence the lifestyles of boys and girls and their respective vulnerability to health risks. Young men are more inclined to engage in harmful and dangerous activities and are much more likely to use violence - against women and peers - than women. The proposed intervention will promote healthier lifestyles and challenge existing gender stereotypes by working with young men, as well as women, in schools and local communities.


Public Investment in Energy Efficiency Phase 2 (PIE2)

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2021

PIE2 aims to increase effectiveness of Public Investment Management (PIM) and of Public Finance Management (PFM) replicating and upscaling the achievements of PIE1 in the two poorest districts of Ulaanbaatar city. Improved PIM and PFM capacities, practices, procedures and regulations will be applied to the thermoretrofitting of public buildings, i.e. 20 schools and kindergartens, aiming for demonstration effect for replication. The need to improve education facilities corresponds to a top priority for UB citizens.


Eritrea Vocational Skills Training

01.10.2017 - 31.12.2019

The Swiss Development Cooperation will implement in this pilot phase 2 projects in vocational skills training in Eritrea. One project is designed as a contribution to ongoing projects of Don Bosco, the other to a project of the “Schweizerisches Unterstützungskomitee für Eritrea. The objectives of the phase are: (i) enhancing the training of teachers and increasing numbers of students having access to trainings and (ii) building a relation of trust with the Eritrean authorities in order to open a broader policy dialogue between the two countries


UNited For Youth Employment in Cambodia

01.09.2017 - 31.12.2019

Youth in Cambodia, in particular new entrants to the labour market, face critical challenges in accessing decent and productive employment opportunities. They have limited access to relevant skills, quality education, entrepreneurship training, information about markets and labour rights. With SDC’s contribution, the UN joint programme will support young women and men to access to (self-) employment opportunities and decent jobs. 


Eritrea Vocational Skills Training

01.08.2017 - 31.07.2022

The Humanitarian Aid of SDC has operated a program office in Asmara up to 2006. Due to implementation difficulties, it was decided at that time to close the office. Eritrea came again into the attention of the Swiss Government in relation with the high number of Eritrean asylum seekers. Most of them are young men. Domestic politics called to address this issue and the Federal Council decided to enhance its investment in young Eritreans in order to improve their life perspectives in their home country. Eritrea is a low-income country ranking generally at the bottom end of international development lists, it is ruled by the Peoples’ front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). The Government slogan of “self-reliance” is linked to the country’s impression of being left alone by the international community (sanction regime in relation to Somalia). Controversial discussions about the Eritrean track record in human rights have influenced the relations between Eritrea and other countries. The main point of concern is the National Service, an institution that manages most of the services provided to the Eritrean population. Its sphere of influence goes beyond the military domain. Eritrea is in a “no war, no peace” situation with the neighboring Ethiopia. Strategic partnerships exist between Eritrea and China (natural resources and infrastructure) and Saudi Arabia (air and war vessel base in Eritrea for the Yemen conflict). Many Eritreans flee the country because they see no real life perspectives. Remittances are extremely important for the survival of the Eritrean population. With its future involvement, SDC aims at making a contribution to improve life perspectives of young Eritreans by training teachers in the field of vocational skills training and by enhancing the access of students to qualified TVET-institutions. The context is quite unique and a step by step approach, starting with a pilot phase of two years is justified.


Project completed

Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund - LIFT

01.07.2017 - 31.12.2018

The Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund for Myanmar (LIFT) managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) receives contributions from 14 donors. LIFT plays an important role in coordinated donor support to agriculture and rural development. Up to now LIFT has reached 7.2 million people, 2.2 million people live in households with increased income and 326’000 households eat improved diets. With this additional Swiss support, successful LIFT projects will be scaled-up and led to sustainability by end 2018.


Formación técnica profesional

01.05.2017 - 30.06.2022

Vocational skills development is key for improving production and expanding opportunities for employment and self-employment. The project aims to reduce poverty and inequality by enhancing access to the labour market. It seeks to strengthen vocational skills and certify competences with an emphasis on young people and adults, promote the quality of training centres, and the shared responsibility of public/private stakeholders. Strategies cover both the national and the local level.


Skills for Employment Tanzania – SET

Babati, Tanzania

01.03.2017 - 30.06.2022

SET seeks to enhance youth (self) employment by improving the Vocational Skills Development (VSD) system. It will support public and private stakeholders to expand access to quality training that matches the demand from both the economy and youth, in particular women, including young mothers. Key elements from the Swiss VSD model will be emphasized: the coordination between skills providers and private sector, practical training and innovation.


Project completed

Terre des Hommes Schweiz (TdH Schweiz)

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2018

Social participation of youth is an objective and at the same time a condition for sustainable development. Young people are often marginalized and lack economic and social perspectives. Youth unemployment worldwide has dramatically risen in the last years and youth, especially girls, are far more exposed to violence and HIV-Aids than adults. terre des hommes schweiz program empowers young people to identify and use opportunities of participation and to advocate within communities for their rights and interests.


Project completed

Federal Government of Somalia and UN Joint Programme on Youth Employment

20.10.2016 - 31.12.2018

The youth employment programme for Somalia aims to create employment opportunities for youth between 15 and 24 years through vocational education, enterprise training, and the rehabilitation of infrastructure in high potential sectors of the economy. The programme is embedded in a state building and stabilization perspective and recognizes that Somali youth are essential for the recovery and growth of Somalia, but could also be a destabilizing force if ignored.


Vocational Skills Development in Macedonia

01.09.2016 - 28.02.2022

Macedonia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (25%), especially among youth (48%). One of the key factors for youth unemployment is that the education and training system does not provide skills needed by the economy. The Vocational Skills Development project aims to address youth unemployment through supporting market relevant skills development by strengthening the engagement of the private sector (e.g. through systematised internships), thus increasing the employability of vocational training graduates.


Project completed

Vocational Skills Development (VSD II)

01.03.2016 - 28.02.2019

The second phase of the project focuses on consolidating the results achieved thus far in the development of the short-term skills development and career guidance services. Moreover it will upgrade the schools’ capacities in provision of long-term vocational trainings in the selected most demanded occupations. Interventions in six Western aimags, Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan, South-Gobi and Choir will enhance the employability of around 180’000 young and adult women and men.  

Object 49 – 60 of 100