ASEAN Swiss TVET Initiative: Phase 1

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Switzerland will support Cambodia and Laos in strengthening their Technical and Vocational Training Systems with focus on workplace based learning in companies. Myanmar will be included only if the political situation evolves positively and after Swiss political decision. Based on Swiss expertise, unemployed youth and low-skilled workers will acquire labour market relevant skills and improve their employability. The ASEAN-Swiss TVET Initiative will strengthen coordination and exchange on workplace based learning in the region.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Business support & economic inclusion
Employment creation
01.05.2019 - 31.08.2026
CHF  4’300’000
Background Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (CLM) are lagging behind the other ASEAN member states when it comes to human resource development. A majority of youth population living in rural areas outside major cities and other industrialising parts of their country in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar enter the labour market with limited education and no formal qualification. They are the source of recruitment for companies, especially for lower skills level and/or low-income jobs with limited opportunities to access skills trainings. While some workplace based learning (WBL) practices exist in some companies and while in all three countries legal frameworks and policies indicate the importance of WBL to enhance the quality of work force, there is no well-established WBL system as part of the formal TVET system in place. Collaboration and coordination between the private sector and relevant government stakeholders is limited. Capacities of key stakeholders from the public and private sector to develop WBL regulatory framework and to implement WBL mechanisms are weak.
Objectives To improve career opportunities for unemployed youth and low-skilled workers.
Target groups

(i)      Young women and men aged 15-24 years who are not in education, employment or training

(ii)     Low-skilled workers/employees

Overall target for these two groups is 3000 (1’200 unemployed youth and 1’800 low-skilled workers) with 50% women

(iii)    150 participating companies 

Medium-term outcomes Unemployed young women and men, especially those with limited education and early school leavers as well as low skilled workers, are equipped with labour market relevant skills that enable better employability and integration into the formal TVET system.

Expected results:  

1a: Strengthened collaboration between Switzerland and ASEAN to promote exchange and best practices on WBL 

1b: Established/enhanced coordination among regulatory authorities and industry representatives of CLM.

2.   Integration of WBL into TVET systems through a) issuance of WBL regulations and guidelines, which include integration of WBL into National Qualification Frameworks and b) developed guidelines for assessment and certification, including Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

3.   WBL for selected occupations in selected industrial sectors implemented, including established National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS) and qualifications/curricula for implementation of WBL; assessment of trainees’ skills and certification of successful candidates.

Selected CLM industry representatives take a leading role in WBL, supporting development of sector specific NOSS / qualifications / curricula, implementing WBL, assessing skills and supporting certification of trainees.

Results from previous phases:  

The opening phase allowed close consultation with ASEAN in the design of the ASEAN-Swiss TVET Initiative (ASTI) based on findings from a project appraisal mission to CLM. The ASTI ASEAN Cooperation Project Proposal has been submitted to ASEAN by Switzerland in August 2020 and was formally endorsed by all ASEAN member states (AMS) in March 2021. The ASTI project therefore is part of the Initiative of ASEAN Integration (IAI) and its workplan 2021-2025, which aims to narrow the development gap among AMS.

While in the entry proposal, focus was on companies and their workers, during consultation with the SDC, ASEAN requested to include unemployed youth in addition to low-skilled workers into the target group for WBL.

Baseline: Based on the findings from the project appraisal mission, so far no uniform WBL concept with respective regulatory framework exists in the target countries to address the needs especially of the large number of unemployed youth with limited education, early school leavers and low-skilled workers to improve their skills and conclude learning with certification acknowledged by the formal TVET system.

During the appraisal mission, the three national chambers of commerce and various federations, associations and private enterprises were supportive of the idea of WBL.

During the opening phase it became clear that the overall budget of CHF 4.3 million foreseen in the Entry Proposal is too small to implement a meaningful regional project in 3 countries and at regional level for 8 years. Therefore the overall budget has been increased to CHF 8.4 million.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Foreign private sector North

Coordination with other projects and actors

-      Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) projects

-      GIZ RECOTVET (Regional Cooperation Programme for TVET)

-      SDC’s Skills development projects in CLM 

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’300’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’107’599