Many young people in Honduras fall prey to the illusory appeal of youth gangs and organised crime. Since 2013, Switzerland has been promoting vocational education and training that will offer young people better prospects and facilitate their entry into the job market.
In the underprivileged regions of Honduras, vocational training and the income it generates can free young people from the vicious cycle of violence and poverty. Since 2013, Switzerland has been promoting training of this type in the tourism and construction sectors. The long-term goal is to integrate dual vocational education and training into the Honduran professional training system.
Developing adapted teaching methods and organising awareness-raising campaigns in Honduras and practical training in Switzerland are among the tasks of the ‘Projoven’ project supported by the SDC. The goal is to improve the quality and quantity of existing vocational education and training courses and to tailor the teaching specifically to young people surrounded by violence and organised crime. The project focuses on the construction and tourism sectors where demand for labour is particularly high. It receives support from the Honduran National Vocational Training Institute (Instituto Nacional de la formación profesional, INFOP).
Through its involvement, Switzerland is making an important contribution to preventing violence in the country with the world’s highest murder rate.
Delegations from Honduras in Switzerland
The International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training is held in Winterthur every two years. As part of the “Democracy Without Borders” initiative, a delegation from Honduras was invited to participate in the congress and in the SDC framework programme. The goal was to promote discussions and mutual learning on Switzerland's vocational education and training. Also, the participants discussed the opportunities and challenges of adapting the system for Honduras.
From 4 to 9 July 2018 a delegate from the largest Honduran business association (COHEP) visited Switzerland. Among other things, the delegate attended the International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training in Winterthur and the SDC Day on Vocational Skills Development, where he gained theoretical and practical insights into Switzerland's dual education and training system and how it works.
The delegate also visited and talked directly with those involved in the Swiss dual system at the Canton of Bern's vocational training centre for electrical installations (KBVE) and the company Böhlen Elektro in Schönbühl. He then visited a number of projects run by the Swiss Workers’ Relief Agency (SAH), such as the Bücherbergwerk, a second-hand bookshop, and the restaurant La Cultina, which provides training in the catering business for refugees. He talked with SAH members about the possibilities and challenges facing the social integration of disadvantaged youths in the labour market.
The delegate will be able to channel his impressions directly into the formulation of a new vocational training law in Honduras and the launch of a pilot phase.
This year's visit was not the first of its kind under the Democracy Without Borders initiative. From 20 to 23 June 2016, a delegation of four from Honduras visited Switzerland. The delegation comprised the project manager of the SDC’s Projoven project, a representative of INFOP, and one representative each of the respective Honduran national trade associations for construction and tourism. As part of the SDC Day on Vocational Skills Development, the group visited the Swiss Technical College in Winterthur, the company Engie, and Strickhof Agricultural College (Kompetenzzentrum für Bildung und Dienstleistungen in Land- und Ernährungswirtschaft). The following day, the delegation took part in the International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training in Winterthur, which featured a welcome address from the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann Schneider-Ammann. In addition, the delegation obtained an insight into projects run by the Swiss Workers’ Relief Agency (SAH), such as the cycle park in Interlaken and Bern restaurant La Cultina. The guests from Honduras also engaged in dialogue with training representatives from the construction and hotel industries.
Over evening dinner, the delegation had the opportunity to talk to Democracy Without Borders project ambassador and former councillor of the city of Bern, Therese Frösch.
From 14 to 19 September 2014, a delegation of two from Honduras – a member of the ‘Projoven’ project team and an INFOP representative – took part in the International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training in Winterthur and visited the vocational training centre of Schindler AG in Ebikon. The delegation was able to discuss vocational education and training with the two project ambassadors, Christoph Lindenmeyer, chairman of the Schindler Management AG board, and Peter Arbenz, chairman of the Advisory Committee on International Cooperation, and with specialists from Eastern Europe including the Serbian minister for education, science and technological development.