B-SkillFUL (Building Skills for ployed and Underemployed Labour) Phase Il

Drawing upon Switzerland's experiences with apprenticeship programmes and leveraging private sector investments, this programme will create economic opportunities for poor men and women within small and medium size enterprises in furniture, light engineering and leathergoods sectors. Combining business development senyices for enterprise development with workplace-based training, it will result in increased employment creation, better remuneration and working conditions in six informal SME clusters.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
SME development
Vocational training
Business support & economic inclusion
01.09.2020 - 31.08.2024
CHF  4’594’330
Background During last few years, Bangladesh has been experiencing "jobless growth", with a high percentage of under employment, amongst the youth. 86% of the entire labour force works in SMEs in the informal economy, which is characterised by low productivity and low wages. Beyond the services sector, enterprises in the tural and peri-urban areas, that constitute the majority ot the informal economy, need to invest and raise efficiency, in order to survive, expand and create additional employment opportunities. B-SkiliFUL Phase I focused on the supply side of training delivery, working with a network on private training providers, to facilitate trainings for the marginalised segment of the population, in the informal sectors. However, having a move skilled workforce is only part of the solution. These enterprises face array of challenges, such as, access to finance, access to markets, rising costs of doing business and an unpredictable business and legal environment. Hence, stimulating growth in the rural and peri-urban areas, through business development services, including labour market intermediation, is an important part of the solution. The COVID-19 crisis has further triggered these challenges and brought about new hurdles. Hence enterprise development interventions, coupled with skills development, are timely and much needed, as the domestic economy strives to recover from the aftermath o/ the economic shutdown.
Objectives The programme will promote decent employment and create income opportunities for poor and disadvantaged men and women in Bangladesh, through increased productivity and growth of small and medium size enterprises and workplace-based training of workers, in selected growth sectors and locations.
Target groups

Direct Beneficiaries

Semi-skilled and skilled workers already working in SMEs partnering with the programme; and pnspective workers newly joining SMEs partnering with the programme.

Of all the workers benefitted, at least 30% are women and on average, over 80% ate poor.

Smaii end medium size enterprises that have been in operation for at least 5 years.

Smali Enterprise: TO - 50 persons employed (or have the capacity to employ), Mediurn Enterprise: 51-150 persons employed (or have the capacity to employ).

Returnee migrant workers - Those who want to set up their own enterprises or integrate into the labour market as workers in small and mediurn size enterprises.


Indirect Bensficiaries

Family members of existing and prospective workers, personnel working with service providers, other small and medium size enterprises working in the same sectors and also in ether sectors, but in the same locality.

Medium-term outcomes


12000 vyo'kers (existing zRlnd prospective) and 1 '000 management staff of small and medium size enterprises improve their employability and performances at workplaces.

Outcome 2

800 small and medium size enterprises increase productivity and efficiency and improve working conditions.


Expected results:  

Workers (existing and prospective) and management staff of small and medium size enterprises have accessed workplace based training, coaching and mentor•ng servicesL

Management staff have accessed specialised business development services for modernisation and upgradation of workplace facilities.

Results from previous phases:   The programme supported short, centev-based trainings of 15'522 graduates (5428% women), out of which 14,961 graduates (54.16% women) placed in gainful employment, with 96% of these trainees eaming BDT5'000 or above. Linkages were established with over 1'520 informal enterprises and 25 private training providers. 26% of B-SkillFUL graduates are currently able to explain their rights as workers and 80% of informal private enterprises sensitised were able to recall elements of labour fights and the decent work agenda.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • Swisscontact

Coordination with other projects and actors Prabriddhi (Local Economic Development at District
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’594’330 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    4’587’551 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF   25’000’000
Project phases Phase 2 01.09.2020 - 31.08.2024   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.11.2015 - 29.02.2020   (Completed)