Vocational skills development in Tunisia – destination employment

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

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
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
01.01.2016 - 31.10.2021
CHF  9’603’475

Youth unemployment remains a major problem in Tunisia. In the most disadvantaged governorates – and among women and young graduates – the unemployment rate is higher than 30%.

On the one hand, some sectors of the economy do not provide enough jobs. On the other hand, the private sector requires more skilled labour than the national education system can produce. As a result, around 150,000 jobs remain vacant.

Reducing the unemployment rate

Implemented by the Swisscontact Foundation under the aegis of the Tunisian Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment (MFPE), the SDC's vocational training and integration programme comes in addition to Switzerland's initiatives promoting job creation in Tunisia. It has three key objectives:

  • to reduce the rate of unemployment by improving the employability of young graduates
  • to improve the image of vocational training in Tunisia
  • to align training programmes with labour market demand.

Improving teaching and offering specialisations


Young Tunisians are being offered numerous opportunities to upgrade their skills to enter the job market. Some young people are invited to attend practice-based technical courses in existing training centres. In this context, the programme is aimed at improving the quality of teaching, with so far some 90 company trainers having received training in innovative teaching methods.

By 2017, 1,586 Tunisians (of whom 60% women) from disadvantaged regions were able to participate in one-off training sessions to either start or develop high value-added activities. Some of the specialisations taught so far, based on specific requests, include farming quail, pruning vines and agricultural project management. In addition, several technical training courses have been co-certified in partnership with national authorities to ensure that they are embedded in the national vocational training system.

From theory to practice

In 2017, 704 young graduates (62% women) were recruited by one of the five 'practice firms' set up under the programme to date. These organisations are unique in that they function as real companies, although they only market virtual products and services within a global exchange network. The three-month on-the-job training enables young people to gain work experience in a company, strengthen their professional skills and also practise soft skills which are necessary for working life.

The employment rate of former employees of these practice firms – 85% – confirms the added value of these temporary training jobs, which also help to prepare young people mentally for the workplace. "Working in a practice firm has brought back some of the things I had lost, such as my self-confidence and my professional aspirations," says Abir Allouch, who has since been recruited as a graphic designer by a communication company.

The case of the Tree company

Tree is a practice firm based in Tunis. Its aim is to train and find jobs for unemployed graduates seeking their first job in the commercial, marketing and administrative sectors. It has 18 job training positions. These young people are supervised by two experienced professionals from the private sector. Since its creation in May 2016, Tree has taken on 115 young people.

Swiss expertise

As with its dual approach to vocational education and training, Switzerland has much to share from its long-standing experience in the area of virtual companies. The Swiss organisation Helvartis manages about 60 of those structures, which began to appear in Switzerland in the middle of the 20th century. In collaboration with the SDC, Swisscontact, the MFPE and the Confederation of Tunisian Citizen Entreprises (CONECT), Helvartis has helped launch and certify five practice firms in Tunisia.

A long-term programme

The SDC programme is being implemented in several regions of the country until 2020. Its main beneficiaries are unemployed young men and women who have graduated from university or completed vocational training, living mainly in the Greater Tunis area, in disadvantaged governorates (Kasserine, Sidi Bouzid, Siliana, Médenine and Tataouine) and in coastal areas affected by the crisis in the tourism sector.