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 13 – 24 of 129

Decent work, protection and well-being for migrant workers and their families in Sri Lanka

01.09.2020 - 31.08.2024

The programme aims to maximise the benefits of migration for sustainable development in Sri Lanka. It will support government institutions and other actors in implementing policies related to fair and ethical recruitment, skills development and provide reintegration support for returning migrants in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. A special focus is placed on elevating migrant workers’ voices in advocacy. The intervention creates entry points to engage with the newly elected government in Sri Lanka. 


Vocational training for the labour market insertion of vulnerable youth in Nicaragua. - «Skills for Success»

01.08.2020 - 31.12.2023

7’000 young people improve their employability and income through quality vocational skills training designed in partnership with the private sector. The project fosters a culture of entrepreneurship and promotes collaboration between training centres and the private sector in a challenging economic environment. In the context of this exit phase SDC furthermore consolidates its long-term effort to strengthen the national VST system through a final investment in gender sensitive teacher training and modern learning facilities.  


Nepal Vocational Qualifications System (NVQS) Phase Il

16.07.2020 - 15.07.2024

Based on Swiss expertise in Technical and Vocational Education and Training, the project

contributes to establish a federal vocational qualifications system. The NVQS will increase the

transparency on the labour market for employers and workers, improve official recognition of

workers competencies in hospitality, construction and automobile sectors and allow links between

TVET and general education to access higher level qualifications for better employment in

domestic and international labour market.


SDP - Skills Development Programme

01.07.2020 - 30.06.2024

Skills Development remains high on Cambodia’s national agenda. Switzerland will scale up its support to youth in rural poor areas to access skill development, equipping them with relevant skills to access employment and improve their incomes. Swiss expertise will also contribute to improve the Technical and Vocational Education and Training system to be more inclusive and strengthen its implementation in collaboration with the private sector to respond to labour market needs.


Decent Employment for Youth in Cambodia

01.05.2020 - 31.12.2023

Switzerland together with UN will strengthen Cambodia’s Technical and Vocational Education System to address key challenges for its large young population entering the labour market every year. The project supports young women and men to acquire relevant skills and information to respond to current and future labour market needs and to obtain decent and productive employment. It also contributes to more inclusive policies and improved coordination with the private sector. 


GCERF - Beitrag an den „Core Funding Mechanism” CFM des Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund

01.05.2020 - 31.12.2022

Im Rahmen ihres Engagements zu Gewaltprävention in fragilen Kontexten unterstützt die Schweiz die Organisation Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, die in ausgewählten Ländern Initiativen zur Stärkung der Widerstandskraft gegenüber dem gewalttätigen Extremismus unterstützt, die zu besserer sozialen Kohäsion und Vertrauensbildung führen. Mit ihrem Sitz in Genf trägt die Organisation zur Visibilität der Schweiz im Bereich Frieden und Sicherheit bei und stärkt den Standort Genf. Mitarbeitende des EDA sind im Vorstand vertreten. 


SomReP - Somalia Resilience Program

01.04.2020 - 31.03.2023

In the fragile and conflict affected context of Somalia, SDC’s contribution to the Somalia Resilience Programme Consortium enables pastoral, agro-pastoral, displaced persons and peri-urban poor to increase their ability to prepare for, adapt to and live through shocks without eroding their productivity or assets. Focusing on capacity building, livelihood diversification and the elaboration of community-based early warning systems, this initiative is complementary to ongoing efforts of government of Somalia and international community to build resilience of communities to climate shocks.


Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE)

OYE recipients Elizabeth (L) and Hosiana, Dodoma 2021

01.03.2020 - 31.05.2024

Inspired by aspects of the Swiss Vocational Skills Development model, the Opportunities for Youth Employment project aims to improve the livelihoods of young rural and peri-urban out-of-school women and men. In addition to building youths' skills-set and connecting them with existing markets for gainful selfemployment in agriculture and renewable energy, this project will also contribute to a more youth friendly and effective market system and policy environment Co-funding is provided by the private sector.


IDB TVET Multidonor Trust Fund

01.10.2019 - 30.06.2024

The Fund’s objective is for IDB to support the initiatives transforming the TVET through the creation of modern, private-sector driven training ecosystems that endow people with the necessary skills to develop successful lifelong learning labor trajectories and boost the region's economic development. SDC’s contribution finances the Fund and facilitates the access to highly valued Swiss and SDC expertise.


Kenya: Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods in Kakuma Refugee Camp

01.09.2019 - 31.08.2022

The Horn of Africa is marked by large numbers of displaced people[1] of whom almost 189’000 are living in Kakuma, Northern Kenya. The project Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods contributes to enhanced capacities and economic opportunities, self-esteem, dignity and empowerment for refugees and host community through the provision of technical, life and basic skills training to youth. This provides them with improved opportunities for socio economic integration.

 

[1] IDPs and refugees

 

 


Vocational training and employment support services (VTESS)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

The Vocational Training and Employment Support Services (VTESS) Project supports the government of Laos in institutionalizing a national inclusive system for the integration of early school leavers into technical training courses and further education. In the current phase, 3000 disadvantaged young men and women will benefit from improved, labour market relevant training courses. At the same time, the establishment of employment support services to help graduates find employment or self-employment will be piloted. 


Enhance employability of migrants in Urban Cairo

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

Food-processing and the food service sector is ranked as Egypt’s second largest manufacturing industry This project supports the employability of vulnerable Egyptians and migrants, especially women, in the food sector.

Object 13 – 24 of 129