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

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Rural Markets

01.01.2022 - 30.09.2023

The political and health crisis in recent years has affected the economic activity of the Family Production Units (UPFs, in Spanish), which is why their resilience needs to be strengthened. The market development approach, applied in phases I and II of the project, has proven its potential to solve major bottlenecks.  In the last phase, the proposal is to consolidate and scale up the achievements in the market systems, as well as of the public and private services supporting them, focusing on knowledge management and sustainability mechanisms.


Donor Commitee for dual Vocational Education and Training (DCdVET) and specific thematic support in Switzerland

01.12.2021 - 30.11.2024

The dual vocational education training (VET) system has a long tradition in German-speaking countries, contributing to employment and income. Its adaptation in development contexts is often complex and challenging. By fostering networks between donor agencies on dual VET and by tapping into the experience of VET-communities, an exchange of best practices and synergies is realized that will improve VET projects and systems in partner countries and lead to a better international positioning of dual VET approaches.


SKYE - Skills Development for Youth Employment

01.09.2021 - 31.08.2023

Over 43% of the potential working population in Nigeria is either unemployed or underemployed and Edo State’s employment rate recently dropped below the national average. Edo also constitutes an important source of irregular migration as well as the epicenter of human trafficking in the country. Through its contribution to the SKYE program, Switzerland aims to improve the range of active labor market measures by building capacities within the institutions delivering job-matching services and professional training.


ILFF 4 Education - Impact Linked Financing for Education to accelerate inclusive quality education through private sector engagement

01.08.2021 - 31.12.2025

Many countries face challenges and a considerable funding gap to meet the SDG 4. Covid-19 has aggravated this situation. Impact linked finance is an innovative way to leverage private-sector engagement in the education sector for the inclusion and quality learning of vulnerable groups. In collaboration with foundations, the project will pilot impact linked financing in education in SDC priority regions in order to accelerate learning, inclusiveness and quality of basic education.


Territorial Inclusive Economic Development in the Mosquitia region, department of Gracias a Dios

01.08.2021 - 30.06.2024

The Honduran Mosquitia is one of the poorest and most conflict-ridden region in the country. With the program, Switzerland promotes income for the indigenous population, improves food security and thus contributes to reducing migration and improving regional stability. In cooperation with the private sector the program generates 1000 net new jobs, seeks to increment the income of 1700 families by 5% per year (USD 360/year in 2020), and promotes an increase in public investment in the territory by at least 10% per year. 


Enhanced Skills for Sustainable and Rewarding Employment (ENSSURE) Phase II

16.07.2021 - 15.07.2025

For Nepalese women and men to gain and retain social and economic benefits from lifelong learning, the establishment of a well-functioning federalised Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system is crucial. In light of its long-standing expertise in TVET and federalism, Switzerland is well placed to support the implementation of a federalised TVET system that responds to the needs of enterprises and increases the prospect of gainful employment for all, especially youths. 


Skills for Local Economic Development SLED

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2030

Switzerland will explore opportunities for supporting local economic development through vocational skills development in predominantly rural areas in Southern Shan. A focus on market-oriented skills opportunities accessible to young women and men, especially from vulnerable groups will be identified that open life-long learning opportunities to improve livelihood options and support peace building and security in conflict-affected areas.


Program Contribution to the Alliance Terre des Hommes Schweiz-Suisse 2021-2022

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2022

Terre des hommes schweiz and Terre des Hommes Suisse have formed an alliance to pool their expertise to address the root causes of exclusion and vulnerability of children and young people. tdh schweiz is competent in participatory approaches for young people and focuses on promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, a culture of peace and sustainable livelihoods. TdH Suisse has a strong expertise in the integrated promotion of the right to participation, protection against exploitation and violence, and education, including education for sustainable development. 


Reintegration of Returnee Migrant Workers Project

01.01.2021 - 31.05.2027

The project will contribute to ensure migrant workers benefit fully from their migration experience by supporting the reintegration of returnee migrant workers in Nepal. It will work with the Nepali Government to provide reintegration services and support policy development to anchor them in the federal structure. Switzerland has a key interest that the potential of migration for development is fully used and is well positioned to engage on the topic, given its track record in migration in Nepal. 


Facilitating Safe and Skilled Migration on the Central Asia - Russian Federation/Kazakhstan Corridor

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2025

Labor migration to Russia and Kazakhstan constitute a lifeline for millions of families in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, but its poor regulation negatively affects its development benefits. The program aims at enhancing labor mobility governance along the Central Asia-Russia/Kazakhstan migration corridor. By facilitating pre-departure orientation and skills-matching interventions for prospective migrants, it will foster migrant workers’ protection and enhancethe livelihood perspectives for the poorest in Central Asia. The program builds on Swiss migration expertise and contributes to the strategic link between international cooperation and migration policy.


O3+ Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future

01.10.2020 - 14.09.2025

This project uses targeted interventions in post-secondary educational institutions in Zambia and Zimbabwe to improve access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) among 18-24 year-olds. Working with UNESCO and Ministries of Higher and Tertiary Education, the project brings Switzerland’s lengthy experience in the HIV/SRHR field to bear by targeting an often neglected cohort of young people with tailored interventions to reduce HIV infections, unintended pregnancies, and gender-based violence. 


Eritrea Vocational Skills Training

01.09.2020 - 30.09.2023

Building upon a successful pilot phase (2017-2019), Switzerland will continue to contribute to two well established NGO-ted initiatives on technical and vocational education and training in Eritrea. The initiatives aim at improving the quality of teaching in targeted vocational skills institutions and testing the possibility of engaging in entrepreneurial activities. Ultimately the goal is to contribute to giving better life perspectives and job-opportunities to young Eritreans in their home country.

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