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 131

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 - 31.10.2023

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.


ProJoven: Vocational training for young people at risk of exclusion

Employment and job placement

01.01.2017 - 30.06.2023

In phase II, ProJoven contributes to the labour insertion of approximately 6,000 young people who are at risk in the Central District, the Gulf of Fonseca region, and the Muskitia/Atlantic region. This represents at least 80% of the 7,500 youth trained through a high quality vocational training/labour insertion system aligned with market demands in the production, service and tourism sectors. The training/labour insertion system also incorporates a psycho-social focus to enhance the sustainability of results.


Project completed

An attractive labour market for young Kosovars

A young man working on an electrical system.

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2020

The project « Enhancing Youth Employment » is aimed at improving job opportunities for young people in Kosovo, a population segment particularly impacted by unemployment. By connecting employers and job seekers, and by training young people in the skills in demand on the labour market, the project is helping to reduce unemployment and drive economic growth.

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

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2020


CHF  7’570’000



Better training to facilitate the integration of youngsters in rural areas into the labour market

Three young Nigerien men walking through a plantation.

01.01.2017 - 31.03.2023

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
Primary education

01.01.2017 - 31.03.2023


CHF  15’666’601



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 - 31.12.2022

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

Lebanon: education and care in a neighbourhood shared by Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

Inside a classroom where a woman teacher is sitting in front of a group of children showing them a book.

01.08.2016 - 31.12.2021

The inhabitants of Hay el Gharbé in southern Beirut live in a very precarious situation. Since 2012, a number of Syrian refugees have joined their neighbourhood. The SDC supports the Lebanese NGO Tahaddi, which has made a real difference in people’s lives here – such as with its education centre, helping a large number of children to (re)discover schooling and escape their daily hardships. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Lebanon
Education
Health
Primary education
Primary health care
Medical services

01.08.2016 - 31.12.2021


CHF  1’270’000



Project completed

Kakuma: Developing vocational skills in a refugee camp

a man repairing a computer in his workshop, watched by six visitors.

01.07.2016 - 31.08.2019

The SDC’s Skills for Life pilot project teaches vocational skills to refugees and residents of Kakuma, to enable them to work and earn a living. More than 580 young people were trained in phase one of this project, which was launched in 2013. Phase two began in summer 2016.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kenya
Vocational training
Migration
Education

Vocational training
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)
Basic life skills

01.07.2016 - 31.08.2019


CHF  2’050’000



Prospects for young, unemployed adults in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.04.2016 - 31.05.2022

The aim of the Youth Employment Project (YEP) is to help public employment bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve their offer and to introduce youth-friendly services, such as individual and group careers advice for unemployed young adults between 18 and 30 years. Together with local partners, YEP also promotes new job opportunities linked to social entrepreneurship models.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Employment & economic development

Employment creation
Business support & economic inclusion

01.04.2016 - 31.05.2022


CHF  5’795’000


Object 49 – 60 of 131