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 129

Project completed

IFAD: International Fund for Agricultural Development – Core Contribution

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialised agency of the United Nations mandated to enable poor rural women and men to improve their food security and nutrition, raise their incomes and strengthen their resilience. Its mandate therefore dovetails with the priorities of Switzerland's development policy.

Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Climate change and environment
Agricultural development
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
Environmental policy

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018


CHF  45’087’000



Project completed

Vocational skills development in Tunisia – destination employment

In Tunisia, an SDC programme enables young job seekers to acquire the technical and social skills required in the workplace

01.01.2016 - 31.10.2021


An SDC programme boosts the employability of young Tunisians entering the job market. It provides them with training in vocational skills to equip them with the practical experience and know-how required in the workplace.

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

01.01.2016 - 31.10.2021


CHF  9’603’475



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.


Project completed

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.


Project completed

Opportunities For Youth Employment

01.07.2015 - 31.12.2019

SDC contributes to the existing project Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) implemented by SNV since September 2013, for its upscaling in Tanzania. OYE aims to improve the livelihoods of young women and men by developing and expanding their set of skills and by matching them with existing rural job markets and opportunities for self-employment in agri-business, renewable energy, sanitation and hygiene in 5 regions of the Central Corridor (CC). Co-funding donor of OYE besides SDC is the MasterCard Foundation.


Project completed

Contribution to Network for Policy Research, Review and Advice on Education and Training (NORRAG)

15.04.2015 - 14.04.2018

Being an international network, NORRAG allows policy dialogue between a diversity of actors. It provides just-in-time knowledge on international education and training policies (IETPs). It supports capacity development and evidence-based policy making, particularly in the Global South. The period of shaping the post MDGs/EFA agenda is crucial for recalling the importance of basic education and training. By covering these two themes, NORRAG is a strategic partner for SDC.


Project completed

Bangladesh: courses to raise job prospects for the poor in the textiles and building sectors

Three sewing machine operators in a textile factory receiving on-the-job training from three other people.

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2021

The textiles and construction sectors in Bangladesh are recording high rates of growth, but many poor women and men lack the necessary qualifications for skilled jobs. By 2019, a project jointly financed by Switzerland and the United Kingdom aims to give 110,000 of them better prospects through on-the-job training. The results so far are promising.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bangladesh
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
Vocational training
Tradepolicy & market system

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2021


CHF  5’825’000



Project completed

From Education to Employment (E2E)

A young woman at a computer regulating machines.

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019

Serbia, which is currently negotiating accession to the European Union (EU), must undergo reforms to meet the criteria that apply to EU member states. Unemployment among young people is currently 27,5% and is a major concern for the Serbian government. Serbia wants to base the reform of its vocational training system on the success factors of the Swiss system of dual education and training and has invited Switzerland to assist it in this crucially important reform process.

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

Vocational training
Employment creation

01.04.2015 - 31.12.2019


CHF  8’010’000



Project completed

Orienting vocational skills towards the job market

Four students and a teacher cooking.

01.03.2015 - 30.04.2019

Albania’s economic and employment growth is hampered by a shortage in quality techni­cal skills. In response to this, the government of Albania wants to improve vocational edu­cation and training (VET) and align it towards labour market needs. The Skills for Jobs project supports this reorientation.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Employment & economic development
Employment creation
SME development

01.03.2015 - 30.04.2019


CHF  7’800’000



Project completed

Skills Development in Uzbekistan

Apprentices standing in a park learn how to use a theodolite

01.03.2015 - 29.02.2020

The fourth Phase of the Skills Development Project (SDP) in Uzbekistan contributes to the improvement and further development of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system by introducing and strengthening the systemic approach to cooperation among stakeholders in the water sector within the cycle “Demand-Training-Job Placement”. The systemic approach to be followed in this Phase of SDP is going to serve as a blueprint for other sectors of the economy and be replicated accordingly.


Swisscontact programme contribution South 2015 - 2016

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2016

Swisscontact has the vision of making a sustainable, effective contribution towards the reduction of economic disparities in a globalised world that is growing more and more complex. Swisscontact's mission is the promotion of economic, social and ecological development, by assisting people to suc­cessfully integrate into local commercial life and by so doing open up opportunities for them to improve their living conditions as a result of their own efforts


Project completed

Terre des hommes Schweiz programme contribution South 2015 - 2016

01.01.2015 - 31.12.2016

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.

Object 61 – 72 of 129