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 61 – 72 of 111

UNited For Youth Employment in Cambodia

01.09.2017 - 29.02.2020

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. 


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.


Project completed

Livelihood Assistance Program for Eastern Ukraine

01.07.2017 - 30.06.2020

This program assists conflict-affected persons in eastern Ukraine to generate income through selfentrepreneurship or employment, enabling them to cover acute needs and to decrease dependence on humanitarian assistance or state social benefits. The capacities of regional employment centers to deliver effective services to job seekers are strengthened, and proposals for a better regulatory environment for economic development and improved access to business loans will be submitted.


Formación técnica profesional

01.05.2017 - 31.01.2023

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.  


Project completed

Promoting Market Oriented Skills Training in the Great Lakes region (PROMOST) : phase 2

01.02.2016 - 31.03.2020

PROMOST is a program promoting Market Oriented Skills Training in the Great Lakes region by improving the access to quality and market-relevant vocational training. In a first phase, the program improved access and quality of formal and informal vocational training in Rwanda. The second phase will consolidate results in Rwanda, develop alternative vocational training options in Burundi and South Kivu, and further regional networking on TVET.


Project completed

Vocational Education and Training Phase II (VET II)

Mongolia-VETschool-vegetableprocessing

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018

VET II aims to contribute to equitable and sustainable social and economic development in Mongolia through the promotion of youth employment. The project will be integrated into public systems to improve youth employment policies and their implementation, benefiting all young men and women. A pro-poor and gender equality focus is mainstreamed in the project’s design and its results framework.


PROMISE: Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement

01.11.2015 - 31.08.2021

Migration to Thailand has increasingly become a poverty reduction strategy for marginalized households. It gives a higher income to the individual and, through remittances supports their community of origin. However migrants are often exposed to precarious labour conditions. PROMISE promotes skills development and safe migration and improves thus the livelihoods of the migrants in Thailand and their communities of origin in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Object 61 – 72 of 111